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Length, 8 3/4 inches. Male, red, female, partly red, giving an appearance of being faded. Bill, stout; wings, short and rounded; tail, longer than wing, slightly rounded; head with conspicuous crest.
Cardinal Grosbeak; Redbird; Crested Redbird; Virginia Redbird; Virginia Nightingale; Virginia Cardinal; Kentucky Cardinal; Cardinal.
Front portion of forehead, front part of cheek region, chin, and throat, black, forming a conspicuous cap entirely surrounding the bill; rest of head, vermilion-red, duller on crown (including crest); under parts, pure vermilion-red becoming slightly paler posteriorly, the flanks slightly tinged with grayish; hindneck, back, shoulders, rump, and upper tail-coverts, dull vermilion-red; wings and tail, dull red; bill, red-orange; iris, deep brown.
Wings and tail, much as in the male, but the red duller; red of head and body replaced above by plain grayish olive or buffy grayish, the crest partly dull red, below by pale fulvous or buffy (nearly white on abdomen), the chest often tinged or mixed with red; head, dull grayish, sometimes nearly white on throat.
Located in thickets of brambles or grapevines or low saplings; a carelessly constructed, loosely put together affair of small twigs, strips of bark, weed stems, grass, lined with fine rootlets, and horse-hair.
2 to 4, white, bluish, or greenish white marked with shades of chestnut, purple, and brown, usually scattered over entire surface.
Eastern United States; north, regularly and breeding to southeastern New York, lower districts of eastern Pennsylvania, western Pennsylvania, northeastern Ohio, northern Indiana, southern Iowa, etc., casually or irregularly to Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Nova Scotia, southern Ontario, southern Michigan, southern Wisconsin, and Minnesota; west to edge of Great Plains, casually to eastern Colorado; south to Georgia, Alabama, and upland region of Gulf States; Bermudas (introduced and naturalized).

The flash of red that comes to view and disappears in other trees is generally the Cardinal. There are other red birds, but none that frequent the stately Southern elms and other large roadside trees as does this most attractive Sparrow.
All through the Southern plantation country this is the bird that typifies everything that is elegant and chivalric not only to the colored cot ton pickers and plantation laborers, but to the country gentlemen. Novels have been written in which the Virginia Cardinal and the Kentucky Cardinal and the Carolina Cardinal have given a tone of aristocratic elegance to the plots. The bird is indeed a fine specimen of bird character, whether found on a Southern plantation, or at its northeastern limit in Central Park, New York city, or at its western limit in the dingy chaparral of southern Arizona.
The bird is ever cheerful and active and industrious. The young are cared for eagerly by the male while the female is sitting on a second lay
ins' of eggs. Nothing daunts the male in his care of the young that he leads out upon the lawns and berry fields. The search for food, the scent of danger, and the warnings given to the heedless young are common observations made by people who are attracted to them.
The attention the male gives his mate is very noticeable. He is never fearful to fly about looking after the nest or leading her to some favored food or singing to her from far up in the tallest tree while she is busy at her toilet down by the brook in the valley. And frequently she will answer in a lower note that
brings from him a quick response. There is a remarkable charm in the Cardinal that brings words of enthusiasm from all who have lived in the country with him and have watched his gracious ways.
His call is a rich and rounded clce-cue that penetrates the grove and often brings an answering cue-cue from another bird far away. The rapid hip-ip-ip-ip-ip-ip-ip, uttered without any loss of power at the end, rings out clear from the tops of the trees and seems to rouse the echoes. Then there is the long drawn out c-eec, and the cheer, cheer, cheer that makes one feel a joy in having such a bird in the neighborhood.
Ridgway has listed about a dozen varieties of the Cardinal but they are mostly in Mexico.
Only the Florida (Cardinalis cardinalis floridanus) and Arizona (Cardinalis cardinalis szlperbzls) and the Gray-tailed (Cardinalis cardinalis canicaudus) occupy small areas adjacent to the great areas of the true Cardinalis east of Texas and south of the Hudson and the Great Lakes.
The Gray-tailed Cardinal is but one of the Mexican varieties that extends up into Texas. But wherever found the Cardinal is a rare sight.
Many persons have become much interested in all birds by being first interested in the Cardinal.
It has been claimed that the Cardinal pulls sprouting grain, but no evidence of damage to either grain or other crops is afforded by the examination of more than 500 stomachs. On the other hand, the evidence is ample that he does much good.
The Redbird is known to feed on the Rocky Mountain locust, periodical cicada, and Colorado potato beetle. It is a great enemy also to the rose chafer, cotton worm, plum or cherry scale, and other scale insects, and attacks many other important insect pests, including the zebra caterpillar of the cabbage, the cucumber beetles, billbugs, locust flea-beetle, corn-ear worm, cotton cutworm, southern fig-eater, codling moth, and boll weevil. In addition, it consumes a great many seeds of injurious weeds. Thus its food habits entitle the bird to our esteem, as its brilliant coat and spirited song compel our admiration.

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