April 1, 2022
It's time for another edition of #BenInNature with VMNH Administrator of Science Ben Williams!
I figured we should celebrate the start of a new month with a look at one of my favorite birds: the northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)! The northern cardinal can be found year-round across the eastern two-thirds of the U.S., and it's been said that this bird has inspired more people to start birding than any other. It's easy to see why; when you spot a cardinal, it immediately draws all of your attention!
Have you ever had a cardinal attack one of the windows of your house? When spring arrives, cardinals will often start attacking people's windows. This is because when the weather warms up, cardinals get pumped full of aggressive hormones that compel them to defend their territory from intruders, and they mistake their reflections for rival cardinals! Thankfully, these hormones subside around mid-summer.
Interestingly, female cardinals are one of the few female North American songbirds that actually sing. They usually do this while sitting in the nest, and it's believed that they do this to signal to the nearby male that it's time to bring some food to the nest.
Cardinals are pretty common, so if you'd like to spot one for yourself, just keep your eyes peeled around backyard feeders and tangled brush. I photographed this one right here in Virginia; as you can see, it was hard to miss!
In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world in hopes of inspiring audiences to get outside and explore the natural world around them!
NATURE PHOTO IDENTIFICATIONS
If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!