The northern cardinal is a strikingly red bird found in much of North and Central America. This backyard bird is a popular attraction at many bird feeders, and is the state bird of seven states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Though the cardinal was once kept as a pet due to its beautifulcoloration and unique song, it is now protected by the MigratoryBird Treaty Act of 1918. Though protected, they are not consideredendangered and they may number as high as 100 million.
The bright red northern cardinal is one of the Cardinalidaefamily, which also includes buntings, tanagers and grosbeaks. Thethree members of the genus Cardinalis include the northerncardinal, the vermillion cardinal, and the pyrrhuloxia, all ofwhich feature short crests on their heads and reddish coloring,although the pyrhhuloxia is mostly brown with reddish accents.