Though native in many Central and Eastern States, Florida might be
considered a true kingdom for the cardinal. Here they are found in
abundance, encouraged to multiply by climatic conditions and a never-
ending food supply.
Classified as Richmondena cardinals floridana, the Florida cardinal
nests as far west as Apalachicola on the Gulf Coast. The species has been
studied at Cherry Lake, Milton, lake Immonia, Whitfield, Goose Creek,
(Wakulla County), Jacksonville, Magnolia, Hibernia, Amelia Island, and
From Daytona south, colonies are seen, while the Florida Keys
giving homes to great numbers are the Marquesas, Snipe, Summerland,
Cudjoe, Little Pine, Vacas, Grassy, Boca Chica, Knight, Big Pine, Watts,
Upper Matecume, Key Pargo, and Sandy Key.
Near Homestead is Paradise Key, part of Royal Palm Hammock,
containing about 400 acres, where every inducement is offered birds to
dwell undisturbed. Many of the crested beauties nest there and in the
southern part of the Everglades, Cape Sable, Deep Lake, Caxambas.
The cardinal's life depends on freedom and liberty. When they were
caged as pets and shipped to England, they would beat their heads against
the bars, until they died. Audubon mercifully freed them from captivity by
having the law passed which provides protection for all nongame birds
generally regarded as useful species.