The State Bird of West Virginia: the Northern Cardinal
West Virginia is a beautiful state filled with natural beauty, and it’s no surprise that its state bird, the Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis), is equally stunning. The vibrant red feathers of this species have long been admired by people in both West Virginia and beyond. Let’s take a closer look at this species so we can appreciate all that it has to offer.
Appearance of the Northern Cardinal
The northern cardinal stands out among other birds due to its bright red feathers and striking black face mask. These birds are quite large compared to many other songbirds; they measure between seven and nine inches in length from their beak to tail-tip, making them one of the larger songbird species found in North America. Males are typically brighter than females, but both sexes bear those unmistakable red feathers which make them so iconic within West Virginia’s landscape.
Habitat and Distribution
Northern cardinals live in open woodlands or shrubby areas throughout much of North America including parts of Canada, Mexico and Central America as well as many states across the United States eastward from Texas up through southern Canadian provinces such as Ontario. Within these habitats you may find these birds foraging on insects or seeds near shrubs or low trees where they build their nests usually high off the ground for added protection against predators such as snakes or hawks seeking an easy meal.
These birds are fairly social creatures who enjoy interacting with each other during mating season when males sing elaborate songs to attract mates while also defending what they consider their territory from intruders including rival males looking for a female partner too! During breeding season both partners will take part in nest building activities then once eggs have been laid one parent will remain with them at all times while protecting them fiercely until fledging occurs some two weeks later after which young cardinals must learn how to fend for themselves before eventually joining flocks during migration seasons come fall/wintertime back towards more temperate climates further south again into Mexico & Central American countries respectively when snow arrives here northwards again every year like clockwork!