Where Do Cardinals Live?

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Cardinals are popular around bird feeders and in wooded areas where seeds are readily available. Look for the distinct red color of cardinals in forests throughout the United States with tips from a science teacher in this free video on animal habitats.

Part of the Video Series: Animal Habitats
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Video Transcript

Sometimes outside my window, I'll hear this pip-pip, pip-pip, pip-pip. It's pretty unmistakable. It's the call of a red cardinal. I'm Janice Creneti. I've been teaching animal and environmental science for about 20 years, and I'm here to answer the question: Where do cardinals live? Cardinals are probably one of the most well-known species of songbirds. They have a pretty distinctive call, as I mentioned. And their bright red color -- well, people just seem to really like it. They're very popular around bird feeders, and because bird feeders can be pretty much anywhere in the United States, you're also likely to find cardinals pretty much anywhere you find people. Cardinals are what we refer to as a fringe species. It means that they can live in close proximity to humans without any problem at all. If you look at their beak, you'll notice that it's almost like a nutcracker because they're predominantly seed eaters. So if cardinals are in the wild, they need to be somewhere where there's seeds. They're also going to nest in trees, so they tend to be in areas where there's plenty of tree cover. Traditionally, they covered almost the entire United States. Some songbirds, though, have gotten into trouble because of a lot of the pesticides and chemicals that are used actually making them sick and eliminating some of the...eliminating some of their populations. But cardinals are still pretty common and pretty easy to find. They do tend to prefer areas that are well-established, though, where there's plenty of old growth trees. They're bright red on the males. The females tend to be a little brown with just a little bit of red on their heads, but they're still one of the easiest birds to identify because of that pointed crest. I'm Janice Creneti, and this is where do cardinals live?


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