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  • Writer's pictureLeigh Roach

The Kentucky Cardinal - More than Just a Mascot.

National Bird Day is here and we thought what better way to commemorate it than to recognize our Kentucky state bird, the cardinal. (Isn't that little fella so cute, btw?)

Kentucky has over 300 species of birds native to the state but the the cardinal was designated as our official bird of Kentucky in 1926. Honestly, that wasn't that long ago. We share this state symbol along with 6 other states including Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.

Here are some fun facts about this little birdie, you may not know.

1. The cardinal is officially known as the northern cardinal, also commonly referred to as a redbird. Interestingly, the male cardinal has brighter and bolder feathers than the female which typically makes him more recognizable. What a show off! (Just kidding.) The female plumage, on the other hand, is much less vibrant - more of a reddish-tan color in fact, just like the baby cardinals are until maturity.

2. All cardinals, both male and female birds adorn a "black mask" which makes them a little mysterious, don't you think?

3. The red birds reminded European settlers of the robes worn by Cardinal leaders in the Roman Catholic church which is where they derived their name. Huh, who knew? If only Superman had been around at the time.

4. Cardinals do not migrate which means we are able to enjoy their beauty year round. From the frigid snow to the boiling heat, these are tough little critters. They are found primarily in the southeastern United States but have expanded their territory further north and west.

5. Both the male and female are known to sing and better yet they are monogamous creatures. It's said that the mating pair stays together throughout the breeding season and, perhaps, life. They breed two or three times a season and both raise their babies until they fly the coup, so to speak. Just as it should be.

6. Last but not least, they are fierce defenders; protectors of their territory. They are often known to attack "red" small objects mistaking them as other cardinal males. All I got to say is, let's just be glad they're not blue. (That was for you, #bbn.)

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