25-Cent Coloured Coin – Northern Cardinal (2008)
Brilliant plumage and another brilliant bird coin
The northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) is one of the most brilliantly coloured songbirds in southeastern Canada, where it is a familiar sight throughout the year. The bright red male stands out against white snow and green trees. Females resemble the males, but are mostly greyish-brown with a reddish tint in their wings and tail feathers. Both have prominent crests and dark face masks surrounding the strong coral-coloured beak, which is used to break open seeds and fruits.
Named after the red robes worn by cardinals in the Roman Catholic church, the northern cardinal was once a popular cage bird for its attractive plumage and range of calls, songs and whistles. The male often calls attention to himself with the cheerful birdie, birdie, birdie call. However, the female has a longer, more complex repertoire, sometimes singing from the nest to inform her mate when food is needed.
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