The Cardinal

The Cardinal


  • The Cardinal

Published Date

  • published 1941


can find, potato and cucumber bugs, scale insects, strawberry root borers,
fig eaters, cotton boll weevils and other small insects that give trouble to the
farmer. With the sagacity of a dietitian the cardinal carefully removes any
hard bits that might harm the birdlings.[28]

No matter what location the cardinal inhabits their subsistence is
derived from insects, seeds, a very small amount of grain, and seeds from
wild fruit. The pulp of the latter he discards.[29] "Based on the examinations
of nearly 500 stomachs (McAltee, 1908) showed the food content to be
about 7/10 vegetable, and 3/10 animal matter. Of the Vegetable food,
weeds and other seeds compose the largest part-about 36 per cent; wild
fruit amounts to 24 per cent, and grain nearly 9 per cent."[30]

In vegetable food weed seed is the favorite. Bindweeds and smart-
weeds head the list, followed by buttonweed, chickweed, tumbleweed,
partridge pea, lamb's-quarters, sticktight, nail grass, sowthistle, crab and
yard grasses, plantain, dock, cockspur, dodder, burr, foxtail.[31]

Of the wild fruit seeds eaten by the cardinals, wild grape has the
preference but they also enjoy blackberries, cherries, hackberries, dog-
woods, smilax, blueberries, pokeberries, elderberries, and juneberries. Seeds
of palmettos, redhaw, prickly pear, holly, sumas, Mexican mulberry and the
passion flower are likewise consumed. Cultivated fruit apparently offers
very little attraction to these birds.[32]