Support
Subscribe
Subscribe to BirdNote

Sign up to receive a weekly email preview of the following week's shows!

Sign Up
Support BirdNote

Help BirdNote tell more stories, reach more people, and inspire action.

DONATE

You are here

Feisty Cardinal

This bird's a survivor!

You may not have seen a Northern Cardinal in the wild, but you've probably seen one on holiday cards or the cover of a bird book. During spring breeding season, biologist Eric Lind and his team capture and band birds at Constitution Marsh on the east side of the Hudson River. For eight years in a row, Eric caught the very same female cardinal. Eight years - that's about twice the average age of an adult cardinal. This aggressive female didn't just peck at the banders' fingers like other captured birds, but clamped its strong bill on to the soft flesh between his thumb and first finger. And held on tight. Not just another pretty face, but a feisty survivor!

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®

Feisty Cardinal

Written by Frances Wood

This is BirdNote!
    [Song of male Northern Cardinal]
    That's the Northern Cardinal. It swoops through gardens and eats from seed feeders in the eastern United States. The males are brilliant red, the females greyish tan, but both sport jaunty crests and have large red beaks. If you haven't seen it in the wild, you've likely seen the colorful cardinal on holiday cards and the covers of bird books.
Biologist Eric Lind, who heads up the Audubon Center at Constitution Marsh on the east side of the Hudson River, has had a unique experience with a cardinal.
[Dawn chorus at a marsh with Red-winged Blackbirds]
During spring breeding season, Eric and his team capture and band birds at the marsh. They're part of an important study, because the north end of this 270-acre tidal marsh is a remediated Superfund site. For eight years in a row, Eric caught the very same female cardinal. Eight years – that's about twice the average age of an adult cardinal. [Song of a female Northern Cardinal] This aggressive female didn't just peck at the banders' fingers like other captured birds, but clamped its strong bill on to the soft flesh between his thumb and first finger. And held on tight.
["Ouch!"]
Each year that Eric re-caught the bird, he dreaded the experience, yet admired this particular Northern Cardinal. She wasn't "just another pretty face," but a feisty survivor.
[Song of a female Northern Cardinal]
You can learn more about the study at Constitution Marsh and see a photo of a female Northern Cardinal, on our website BirdNote.org. I'm Mary McCann.
                                                     ###
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Song of male Northern Cardinal [105598] recorded by G.A. Keller; spring dawn chorus at a marsh in Sussex County recorded by A.B. Vandenberg [86375]; song of female Northern Cardinal [409693] recorded by G.F. Budney.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2014 Tune In to Nature.org     November 2017   Narrator: Mary McCann

ID#     NOCA-02-2012-11-18    NOCA-02

Sights & Sounds

LEAVE A COMMENT

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

Related topics:

Related field notes:

Home
Shows
Galleries
More