Northern Cardinal

From Ohio History Central
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Scientific Name: Cardinalis cardinalis
Habitat: Woodlands, brushy fields, thickets, fence rows, parks, and cities
Adult Weight: 2 - 3 oz.
Adult Body Length: 8 inches
Nesting Period: April - August
Clutch Size: 3 - 4 per clutch
Life Expectancy: 1 year or less
Foods: Seeds and insects


Although a species with an expanded range, the cardinal was officially named Ohio's state bird in 1933.



Cardinals were uncommon in Ohio. They were seen only in the southern part of the state, along the Ohio River.

19th Century

Cardinals began to expand their permanent range throughout Ohio by the late 1800s. J. M. Wheaton reported in 1882,

In [central Ohio] they are generally distributed during the breeding season, but in severe winters they collect in large companies in swamp thickets. In one such locality of about ten acres in extent, I have seen in an hour more than a hundred birds. Considerable numbers are trapped and sold . . . at one to two dollars per pair.

20th Century

By the turn of the century, cardinals could be found throughout Ohio to Lake Erie. By 1910, they were nesting in southern Canada. Today, the cardinal is a permanent resident in all eighty-eight counties.

See Also


  1. Peterjohn, John. The Birds of Ohio; Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN; 1989.