About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

When cardinal babies leave the nest

I found a cardinal's nest with 3 babies in a bush by the house. I'm having the house spray washed in a couple weeks. Will they be gone by then?

Northern Cardinal chicks will leave the nest about 10 days after hatching. The parents continue to feed the chicks for 25 to 56 days. They don't return to the nest but may take cover in the bush.
Parents teach their young to forage for food and other survival techniques for a couple months. Then they drive them away from their natal territory to form connections with other juveniles for potential breeding the next spring.

Cardinals can breed from March until September. The female cardinal lays an average of 3 eggs. Incubation begins when the last egg is laid, and is performed solely by the female while the male brings her food. The eggs hatch after two weeks and both parents feed the chicks a diet that consists of mainly insects. 
Young Northern Cardinals don't look like the adults. They have ashy brown feathers and black bills rather than the orange-red of the adults. They change gradually to their adult coloration three to four months after hatching.

Cardinals are often the first to visit a feeder in the morning and the last to stop by and grab a bite at night. You can listen for their “chip, chip, chip” calls to each other just before the sun rise and sets. At the feeders their favorite seeds are sunflower, peanuts, or safflower.

Related Articles:
Northern Cardinal Fun Facts http://bit.ly/twE6NV
How the Northern Cardinal bird was named http://bit.ly/tSKZYs
Cardinal Bird Feeders Made in the USA: http://bit.ly/qXJPFM
How to Attract Cardinals: http://bit.ly/pjh7mO
What can I feed the cardinals to make them redder? http://bit.ly/rAArXw
What are the different types of cardinal birds? http://goo.gl/CUI43

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