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Indiana Department of Natural Resources

For Kids > I'm Alive > Northern Cardinal - the state bird Northern Cardinal - the state bird

Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal

If you ask any Indiana birdwatcher what his or her first learned birdcall was, it's a good bet that it was the cardinal. The territorial song of the male cardinal is almost a given in any Indiana woodland during the spring. With their beauty and abundance, it's no big surprise that Indiana and six other states share the Northern cardinal as their state bird.

The Northern cardinal, named after the red robes worn by Roman Catholic cardinals, is easy to find in the spring. Just listen for the two-parted "pre-tty, pre-tty, pre-tty, BIRDY, BIRDY, BIRDY BIRDY" song as the male calls out for a potential mate. If you track one down in the springtime, watch for the female guarding her male from other possible females in a practice called "mate guarding."

Though common in Indiana's State Parks and Reservoirs, you probably won't have to leave your own backyard to spot this beautiful, seed-devouring bird!

Would you like to learn more-detailed information about Indiana's state bird? Visit our life series about the cardinal to learn more.