Northern Cardinals are permanent Decorah residents. They eat primarily seeds and fruit, including dogwood, wild grape, buckwheat, grasses, sedges, mulberries, hackberries, blackberries, sumac, tulip-tree, corn, and many kinds of birdseed. They supplement their diet with insects during the summer and feed insects to nestlings.
Females build cup-shaped nests by constructing a framework of coarse twigs and lining it with a carpet of leaves, an outer lining of pliable bark, and an inner lining of grass, stems, rootlets, and pine needles. Cardinals lay two to five eggs per clutch and may produce up to two broods per year. Females and males incubate eggs for 11-13 days and young stay in the nest for 7-13 days before fledging. If the female decides to build a second nest, the male will feed the young from the first nest by himself. To learn more, visit Cornell’s website.