Visit Valparaiso, IN, the Vale of Paradise, to take on the Birds of Paradise sculpture scavenger hunt beginning in 2022. Visit Valparaiso to hunt down the clues needed to find all 10 native birds species throughout downtown.


Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinalfemale; Photo by Mike Timmons

Females cardinals are much duller, but still striking.

The brilliant red of a male Northern Cardinal is hard not to notice. Their conspicuous color, beautiful songs, and equally intriguing females, make them one of the most popular birds. In fact, cardinals are the state bird for seven states. Indiana designated the northern cardinal as the official state bird in 1933. The cardinal also serves as the logo for Indiana Audubon, the oldest conservation organization operating in Indiana today.

As a widespread bird of many habitats, they are a familiar site even in the most urban residential areas. If you have bird feeders you likely know they prefer larger sunflower and safflower seeds. Cardinals nest in dense foliage and look for conspicuous, fairly high perches for singing. The increase in towns and suburbs across eastern North America has helped the cardinal expand its range northward.  

Males and females can easily be separated, as males retain the brilliant red throughout the body. Females have red in their tails, wings, and crest, but are generally much browner. Both males and females have the bright orange bill that brightens as they get older.  Young cardinals have dark gray bills.

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