themselves with haughty dignity, displaying manners that are fastidious and
polite. Their movements are vivacious, though carefully elegant and when
the crest is raised to fully erectness they present a regal appearance, that no
other small bird can contest. Another characteristic that sets them apart
from other birds is the fact that they will not allow their feet to touch the
Cardinals are not fighters and retain a majestic aloofness unless
attacked or captured. When forced to fight for mate or life the male
displays a temper as fiery as his feathers. If caught for branding he feels the
insult to his dignity so keenly, he will bite the hand that holds him prisoner
and cling pertinaciously, even when set free.
In addition to the gift of beauty, the qualities of family devotion,
bravery, exterminator of pests, the cardinal has eminent ability as a songster.
Icicles and zero temperature do not discourage the cardinal from
bursting into song. Early in March he starts his wooing, and his clear
singing in the frosty air is of extreme importance in the courtship. The
Florida cardinals begin to sing in January, and their melodic strains continue
in all native haunts until September.
Starting with fifelike notes, high in pitch, they reiterate a mellow
whistle, "cheo-cheo-cheo-cheo." Five or six songs are in his repertory  and
q!q!q! is repeated at short intervals. An odd sustained e-e!