The Northern Cardinal is one of the most recognizable birds in the Southeast. Mostly due to their scarlet hue, the Cardinal is considered a symbol of great luck, especially when seen in the winter. Did you know that the Cardinal is also the state bird of no fewer than seven states? Or, that the cardinal bird gets its name from the Cardinals of Rome? When Catholica Spaniards discovered parts of North America, they immediately noticed these bright crimson birds. They christened them “cardinals” in honor of the red garb Catholic Cardinals don.
Alright, so cardinals are pretty. So, why the huge fuss over these red birds? A recent study, that took place in Atlanta, Georgia, actually found that cardinals are one of the “super suppressors” of the West Nile Virus. Scientists compared populations of Atlanta birds and found that, while robins can easily pass the virus from mosquito to mosquito as it is fed upon, cardinals do not. This is because cardinals are biologically superior in suppressing the virus in their blood, making it almost virtually impossible for the virus to transmit to any other feeding mosquitoes. That’s why, here in the Southeast, there are far less cases of West Nile than in places like Illinois.
Trust us, you want cardinals in your garden. Not only are they beautiful to look at and wonderful songbirds, but they’re amazing for your health. But, don’t fret. Cardinals are extremely easy to please. Cardinals prefer a dense, shrubby habitat. So, if you provide that in your backyard, you keep the Cardinals happy! They nest in shrubs at least twice every summer. If the shrubs (such as junipers, dogwoods, honeysuckle) provide fruit-all the better! They don’t usually go for nesting boxes, though. Cardinals are also ground feeders, so you can just spread some sunflower seed or cardinal seed through your lawn.
Treat your garden and yourself to the brilliant hues of the cardinal. And, if you have any questions about your gardening projects, call Great Estates! We’ll help you create the perfect environment for your bird buddies. Can’t plant new shrubs or have a commercial property? Not a problem for Great Estates. We also offer seasonal mosquito spraying and pest control that’s safe, effective, and won’t break your bank.
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