The northern cardinal's diet consists primarily of insects, seeds, grains, fruit and sap. The official bird of seven U.S. states, the cardinal is a popular presence at backyard bird feeders all across the country and in southern Canada.
One of the most easily identified songbirds, the cardinal reaches a maximum of 8 to 9 inches in size, with males bearing brilliant red plumage, for which the species is also known as redbirds. The name cardinal is derived from the red robes worn by Roman Catholic cardinals. The birds are aggressive in defending their territory and often occupy brushy swamps, gardens, thickets and woodland edges year-round.