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Cardinals Begin Their Song of Promise of Spring in Northeast Iowa
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Cardinals Begin Their Song of Promise of Spring in Northeast Iowa

On the wings of a bird comes signs of spring. Just in time, as yet another snowfall begins. I can enjoy the snow and being out in it, since I know spring won't be that far off. Just as I've been taking time to slow down read books, organize my house, and begin dreaming of spring, a pair of my cardinals begin singing to each other that love song that February brings to our yard! After continually looking over my worn garden magazines and seed catalogs February has arrived! One month closer to spending time in my garden and golfing! Their special song is a special promise of spring that us birders wait to hear this month. They say "For everything there is a season," and if we didn't go through the cold snowy winter of the Midwest we wouldn't get as excited about the changing seasons bring spring and sunshine to our beautiful northeast Iowa!

The cardinal's bird sounds are one of the most welcome sounds to me in the world as he sings the promise of spring. It feels up my senses after this long cold winter, we are so ready for any hint of warmer weather. Warming our hearts, the sound of the Northern cardinals begins singing this month, one of the most welcoming sounds telling us that spring will be here before we know it." Northern cardinals, one of the most loved and recognized of all native birds, begin making their territorial song 'whatcheer cheer cheer' call in the month of February. Even though days remain cold, the sound is a welcome hope of spring as longer days arrive".

Reading up on the cardinal I found out that:

"Cardinals are non-migratory and range from southern Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and from the Great Plains to the Atlantic. Iowa is firmly in cardinal range. The birds can be spotted year-round but are most noticed when they visit winter feeders to enjoy sunflower seeds. Look for male (red) feeding the female during courtship. Male feeds the first brood by himself while female builds second nest. According to Birds of Iowa book their name comes from the Latin word meaning “important.” The males become very territorial during the spring and even will fight their own reflection. At this writer’s home, we have found them fighting their reflection in our gas grill and almost knock themselves out. Unfortunately, of the three pairs that frequent out feeders, one male died of a broken neck presumably fighting with the grill. The birds are non-territorial in the winter and flock together. Their natural habitat is brushy areas and woody edges, making them perfectly suited to life in suburban neighborhoods. Male cardinals can't be missed, with red feathers, black faces, prominent crests and massive bills that enable them to crack open tough seeds. Females look similar but are buff brown with tinges of red on crest and wings but they do have a dark mask around the eyes and a large red bill like the male. Young birds look like females but have a dark bill."

I agree when one source says, "Cardinals rarely call in early winter but make up for it as days lengthen. As if on cue, they begin singing in early February and usually keep at it until well into the growing season. Few bird sounds are as easy to identify or as welcome as that of the cardinal as he sings the promise of spring."

What is more fitting than their song telling us "What cheer, cheer, cheer," as we too cheer for the promise of spring they are telling us is just around the corner. As I look out the window, I see another beautiful snowfall telling me to enjoy this moment in time, because spring will be here before we know it! Step outside, go for a walk in the sparkling snow and hopefully you will hear the songbird's enchanting song bringing spring a little closer!

 

 

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