The Cardinal was selected by popular choice as the State Bird on March 4, 1943. The Cardinal is sometimes called the Winter Redbird because it is most noticeable during the winter when it is the only "redbird" present. A year-round resident of North Carolina, the Cardinal is one of the most common birds in the gardens, meadows, and woodlands.
The male Cardinal is red all over, except for the area of its throat and the region around its bill which is black; it is about the size of a Catbird only with a longer tail. The head is conspicuously crested and the large stout bill is red.
The female is much duller in color with the red confined mostly to the crest, wings, and tail. This difference in coloring is common among many birds. Since it is the female that sits on the nest, her coloring must blend more with her natural surroundings to protect her eggs and young from predators. There are no seasonal changes in her plumage.
The Cardinal is a fine singer, and what is unusual is that the female sings as beautifully as the male. The male generally monopolizes the art of song in the bird world.
The nest of the Cardinal is rather an untidy affair built of weed stems, grass and similar materials in low shrubs, small trees or bunches of briars, generally not over four feet above the ground. The usual number of eggs set is three in this state and four further north.
The Cardinal is by nature a seed eater, but he does not dislike small fruits and insects.