The courting period may continue to July  but once the next
building is started the cardinal guards his mate with fierce, jealousy, and
woe to the male who attempts to intrude.
Northern birds choose low-growing vines or bushes and build nests
that appear flimsy, of weed and leaf stems, straws and grapevine bark.
They are lined with fine grasses and are usually from three to six feet from
In Florida, low-growing orange trees, hardy vines and scrub oak are
favored dwellings. Spanish moss is a favorite material fo]r the bulky nest,
which is placed from two to eight feet from the ground.
As a rule three or four eggs are laid, though in rare instances five has
been seen in a nest. The average size is 0.99 x 0.69 and they have a
background of bluish-white which is speckled with umber, lavender and
reddish-brown. The parent birds resent any human contact with the eggs
and may abandon a nest that has been touched by prying hands.
During the hatching period the male not only shields his mate from
intrusion, provides tit-bits for her, but, to while away the hours, he sings his
clear, full notes.
When the birdlings peek out of the nest the tiny crest gives the yet
unfeathered babes a droll appearance. The male's working hours are then
multiplied, for his outstanding virtue is that of being an