What Is The State Bird Of Illinois? All Facts Explained

State Bird Of Illinois

Generally, every state has its own specialties, birds, animals, lakes, and other natural things. This leads to their own state animals or birds. The same stands true for Illinois.

But do you know what is the state of Illinois? The answer to this is Northern Cardinals.

The state bird of Illinois is the Northern Cardinals which got this status in 1929. These birds have vibrant crimson red feathers and often prefer forested lands and open areas.

However, there are many other facts related to it. And In this article, I’ll explain all such facts related to this state bird of Illinois. 

Why is the Northern Cardinals the state bird of Illinois?

In 1928, the school children of Illinois voted for the state bird at the behest of the Macomb branch of the National Federation of Professional Women’s Clubs.

It took the legislature until the following year to officially name the Northern Cardinals the state bird.

Illinois became the first state among other seven states to name their official bird. The other birds in this competition were oriole, bobwhite, meadowlark, and bluebird. 

When did the Northern Cardinal become the state bird of Illinois?

In 1818, Illinois got the status of being a state but it didn’t have the state bird until 1929. In June 1929, the Illinois General Assembly passed the legislation declaring the state bird.

The states that share the Northern Cardinal as a state bird include North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, and Indiana. 

What does the Northern Cardinal look like?

The male Northern Cardinal has vibrant crimson red feathers while the female Northern Cardinal has reddish-brown or gold hue feathers.

Both of these birds resemble each other physically but male cardinals are a little larger than females. The chest and upper area of the female bird are yellow and streaked with grey.

They have white or light grey stomach areas. The Northern Cardinals usually have a black bill featuring a brown shade at the base.

Generally, they measure 7.9 to 9.3 inches in length, 9.8 to 12.2 inches in wingspan, and 1.19 to 2.29 ounces in weight. 

How do these birds behave?

The Northern Cardinals typically thrive in shrubbery in the wild. The habitat of these birds differs slightly in Illinois.

The habitat of Northern Cardinals includes swamps, vegetation around homes in suburban areas, the edge of wooded areas, and streamside thickets.

The cardinals live for 13 to 15 years. During their lifespan, these birds mate and build a nest with their partner. They communicate with each other through songs.

Most of the cardinal songs are the songs that are sung for staying in touch while being apart. Sounds like purty-purty-purty or cheer-cheer-cheer can be heard when a couple of cardinals are away and wants to stay in touch. 

The incubation period of the cardinal’s eggs is about 11 to 13 days. During the incubation period, the female cardinals cannot leave the nest and the male cardinals go hunting for the food which he brings to the nest.

Before chicks hatch from the eggs, the male cardinal brings food for two but after the egg hatches, he brings enough food for the entire family.

The baby birds require a lot of protection and care as they get hatched without full feathers. The mother cardinal protects the babies and nest when a predator attacks their nest. 

Do Northern Cardinals form communities?

The Northern Cardinals live like that mockingbirds as they form a tightly knit marriage and family which they fiercely protect. They can fight till their death to protect their home and family.

When they sense a predator, they get ready to fight for its territory regardless of the size of the predator. It is advised to not approach any cardinal’s nest nor allow your pets or children to do so.

This is so because cardinals can attack in their defense. Northern Cardinals stay active in a fight during their breeding season.

If any other male cardinals enter the occupied breeding territory, the cardinal will fight with their own species. 

Cardinals even attack themselves because they see their reflection in a window or mirrored glass. These birds can identify other cardinal birds and even animals or humans.

But they don’t know that the glass shows their reflection. Due to this, they attack the glass and fight with it. 

What do Northern Cardinals eat?

Northern Cardinals have the greatest diet diversity among all the bird species and they love to eat. The Northern Cardinals are granivores which means that they have focused on eating seeds.

You can offer fruits, grains, seeds, and greens to these birds by stocking them in a bird feeder and hanging it high up in the yard.

You can also offer their favorite food that includes fresh berries, cracked corn, peanut pieces, and safflower seeds. 


Northern Cardinal is the state bird of Illinois who got this status in 1929. The school children of Illinois voted for this bird but it took one year to pass this legislation.

Among this bird species, the female cardinals complete the duty of incubating the eggs while the male cardinals hunt and bring food for the family. 

At last, I hope this article may have helped you in some ways. Thank You For Reading!

Related Articles You May Like

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top