are there cardinal birds in arizona

Northern Cardinal Most people are familiar with the flashy northern cardinal – a bird that puts us in a winter holiday mood, but lives year round in Sabino Canyon. We recognize the bright red male (photograph on left) with its crest, black face and reddish bill and his drabber mate, who is more cryptically colored to avoid attracting the attention of predators.

Bird habitat offers food, cover, places to nest, and water (some desert birds can survive without water by drawing moisture from their food). For the pairs or small groups of desert cardinals, brushy desert or riparian thickets provide all this. They search dense, low vegetation for their preferred seeds, fruits, and insect larvae, and then they construct cup nests made of grass, twigs, and leaves that are one to fifteen feet above the ground. Here, a seasonally monogamous pair tends to young (fledge in 9–10) and incubates eggs (12–13 days). Due to the process’ efficiency, cardinals may produce two to four broods every season.

The bird’s sharp pik note or bright, clear whistles (chew, chew, chew) may also be recognized by us. While most songbird species only have males that sing, female cardinals typically sing in the springtime after the male has marked his territory but before nesting begins (possibly to strengthen pair bonds). However, because its sounds and vocalizations differ slightly from those of its western kin, a cardinal from Connecticut might not understand the conversation.

Those bright bursts of color at our feeders or in the bushes along Sabino Road are such a blessing. The majority of this bird’s range is in the east and midwest, and Arizona is one of just three western states where it can be found. There, cardinals perch in evergreen trees and gather berries from snow-covered bushes, just like on the classic holiday card. How could a bird like this feel so comfortable in the Sonoran desert?

Southeast Arizona is fortunate to have the Northern Cardinal, a superstar of the bird world, and I couldn’t help but laugh at the overused metaphor of this species during the winter holidays. It turns out that this is a pretty interesting bird, though its striking red color is probably what makes it so popular. While female cardinals are a rich tan with red highlights on their tail, wings, and crest, male cardinals are a brilliant red. And that crest! They both have the enormous orange bill, the super tall and jaunty crest, and a neat black face mask and chin. Because brighter males have a higher success rate in reproduction, the red color that results from the ingestion of carotenoid pigments may indicate the quality of a mate.

Northern Cardinals are at home in Southeast Arizona at your backyard feeder or in the verdant desert washes, where they favor thickets of mesquite and hackberry. Of the eighteen recognized subspecies, our desert subspecies is the largest, having a stouter bill, a taller crest, and less black across the forehead. If you scatter sunflower seeds (which are a favorite of theirs), oranges, or grapes around your yard, cardinals will most likely come visit. They are known to peel grapes and throw away the skin in order to consume the juicy fruit within! So you can see that this is no cliché!

The male Northern Cardinal may be responsible for getting more people into birdwatching than any other bird in North America, perhaps only locally rivaled by the Vermilion Flycatcher here in Tucson. They don’t migrate and they don’t molt into a less-colorful plumage, so they’re still visual show-stoppers in dull, winter backyards, especially in the snow. Cardinals readily come to feeders, and both the males and females are loud and boisterous singers—her songs from the nest may provide the male with information about whether to bring back food. Being fiercely territorial, they amuse and worry many people during breeding season when they endlessly attack their reflections in windows or car mirrors. Cardinals are the perfect mix of color, sound, and style, so it’s no wonder they are the state bird of seven states.


Are the cardinals in Arizona?

Cardinalis cardinalis We’re lucky to have a superstar of the bird world in Southeast Arizona, the Northern Cardinal, and I couldn’t resist the cliché use of this species around the wintry holidays. Turns out, it really is an interesting bird but probably owes its popularity to its striking red color.

What does an Arizona cardinal look like?

The Look Of Desert Cardinals As with their more common Northern Cardinal counterpart, the male and female differ in color. The male is a gray-colored bird with a distinct reddish chest and red splotches within his wings. The red also climbs onto the face regions, appearing as a mask and surrounding his crooked beak.

What Arizona bird looks like a female cardinal?

Pyrrhuloxia: About 7¼ inches (19 cm) in length, the male is a slender grayish-tan and red bird with a crest and a small stubby, almost parrot-like bill. The rose-colored breast and crest suggest the female Cardinal, but the gray back and ivory-colored bill set it apart.

Are there cardinals in the desert?

This ‘desert cardinal’ is common in dry country of the Southwest. It is similar to the Northern Cardinal in its song and behavior, and the two overlap in many desert areas.