Illinois was the first of seven states to select the northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) as its State Bird. The cardinal was chosen in 1929 when Illinois schoolchildren voted for the State Bird. The other candidates were the bluebird, meadowlark, bobwhite (quail) and oriole. The cardinal is also the State Bird of Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.
Northern Cardinal males grow vibrant crimson red feathers, while the females’ feathers take on a reddish-brown or gold hue. The males of this species of bird grow to a little larger than females, but not much. Otherwise, the two genders of the bird resemble each other physically. The female bird’s chest and upper area appear yellow and streaked with grey, but their stomach areas appear white or light grey. Typically, these birds have a black bill featuring a brown shade at the base.
From head to tail, the Northern Cardinal of Illinois measures 7.9 to 9.3 inches in length with a wingspan ranging from 9.8 to 12.2 inches. These birds don’t weigh much either, only 1.19 ounces to 2.29 ounces!
Looking for a FUN PROJECT-BASED idea for students to use to record all this information and more? My Teaching Library offers…
Illinois State Bird Project: Northern Cardinal
This project-based unit is designed to help students study and record information about Illinois’s state bird – the Northern Cardinal!
– A map page (for the state)
– Scientific classification page
– A page for students to give details about the bird’s physical description, habitat, diet, life span and reproduction
– A page where students will do additional map work to show where in the U.S. the bird lives in addition to migration information
– Coloring page
– Several pages on which students can use for expository and/or creative writing as well as sections in which students may draw.
14 pages in all and is designed for different levels / abilities.
Want to learn MORE about the Northern Cardinal? Check out the article: Let’s Study the Northern Cardinal! on My Teaching Library!
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