Are Cardinals Aggressive? To Humans And Other Birds?
Northern cardinals are pretty eye-catching thanks to the blazing red color. These birds are chirpy and lively but look a bit bad-tempered on the outside. Their extreme territorial behavior triggers bird enthusiasts to think they’re not peaceful.
Now, the question is, are cardinals aggressive? The short answer is no. Cardinals are not typically aggressive bird species all over the year except for the mating and breeding seasons. During these periods, male cardinals can be aggressive to other males, birds of prey, predators, and humans if they come close to the female cardinals or their territory.
Not only that, but female cardinals can also be aggressive to other songbirds when feeding on bird feeders. Furthermore, this page is a supplement to our article on the availability of northern cardinals in North America. We suggest reading that article after finishing this one.
Recent Blog: Do Cardinals Migrate? [Full blog here]
Why Do Cardinals Become Aggressive?
Cardinals become aggressive to defend their mates, broods, and territories from other male cardinals, birds of prey, and predators. During the breeding season, male cardinals try to show off their aggression so that any intruder cannot dare to come to their territory.
Besides, both male and female cardinals can be aggressive to other songbirds while feeding on treats. This aggression could occur in both breeding and non-breeding seasons, particularly in winter when natural food supplies are not abundant in the avian world.
If you want to know more about the territorial behavior of cardinals, we recommend you read our article on if cardinals are territorial or not.
When Are Cardinals Aggressive to Other Birds?
When defending the territory, mates, and broods, male cardinals can attack other males. This often leads cardinals to hit glass windows in order to charge the intruding males. In fact, cardinals get hit to their own reflection.
In addition, both male and female cardinals can be aggressive to other songbirds when feeding on a platform feeder. A couple of days ago, I saw a video on YouTube where a female northern cardinal was aggressive to a sparrow on a platform feeder.
What is the Relationship Between Cardinals and Humans?
A friendly relationship exists between cardinals and humans. Cardinals often visit human backyards. They can even recognize human voices. Despite the presence of humans, cardinals spend a lot of time on their nesting sites without any hesitation.
Here is a YouTube video for you. A guy named Tom living in Texas held a friendly male northern cardinal. The cardinal perched on his hand remained calmly for a while, looking like the guy petted the cardinal. This could be an example of cardinal-human friendship.
Even though cardinals can be aggressive during breeding seasons, they are pretty social songbirds in the rest of the year. Befriending with cardinals is really easy; just place cardinal-friendly bird feeders with black oil sunflower seeds in your backyard.
However, we hope you have learned a lot about the behavior of northern cardinals. If you have ever watched any aggressive cardinals, you can share the experience with us. Always allow cardinals to eat delicious treats and make nests in your yard.
You Can Also Read:
- Male VS Female Cardinal [Read here]
- Do Cardinals Migrate? [Read here]
- Where Do Cardinals Sleep At Night? [Read here]
- Can A Cardinal Be Half Male Half Female? [Read here]
- Are Cardinals Territorial Birds? [Read here]
- Can Cardinal Birds Be Pets? [Read here]
- Where Do Cardinals Build Their Nests? [Read here]
- Do Cardinals Use Birdhouses? [Read here]
- What Do Cardinals Eat? [Read here]
- How To Attract Cardinals? [Read here]
I have a cardinal in my yard that is orange. He and his mate hatched two chicks this summer, and for a week he would some how call them up to the railing on my deck, and feed the two of them.
He would hop up to the feeder, get a mouth full of seed, crunch it up for the chicks, and feed it to them beck to beck. After three or four days they could eat on their own and even tho they tried to
Get him to keep feeding them, he refused.
You were fortunate because you did see a rare orange male cardinal. Hopefully the chicks are now able to eat on their own without any help of their parents. Thanks for sharing the story!
Reminds me of the springtime boarding up of the garage windows that my dad had to do because a male cardinal could see himself in the reflection. Poor bird kept flying into them and knocking himself out. For years. Dad would pick him up, put him under makeshift shelter so he wasn’t prey but could come to, get out, & live defend his nest another day
Pleased to hear what your dad did for the cardinal.
I had a pair.of juvenile cardinals eating off the ground in my backyard
Now they are gone, and a lone male cardinal visits my feeder 3/4 times a day
Why did the young ones leave..and is this male looking for a place to stay for the winter , its October in Ontario