Please see Part 1 of this article for information on the natural history and care other South American Cardinals. Today we’ll take a closer look at a species that is much sought-after by experienced aviculturists, the Green or Yellow Cardinal, Gubernatrix cristata. Read More »
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Cardinals prefer to nest in thorny bushes or dense shrubs, but will use open fronted nest boxes as well. Both sexes construct the nest, a process which takes about 4 days, of grasses, moss, twigs and root fibers. The eggs, numbering 4-5, vary in color from white through shades of gray, yellow and blue, and are blotched in red, gray, orange or violet. Two clutches may be raised each season.
Only the hen sits on the eggs, and she is fed by the male during the 14 day incubation period. The hatchlings spend 15 days in the nest, and are fed by both parents for an additional 12 days after fledging (leaving the nest). It is important to add extra insects to the diet of breeding cardinals. Old timers such as I also utilize hard boiled egg and a bit of meat and cheese, but a “breeding formula” softbill diet will simplify matters for you.
Information on becoming a wildlife rehabilitator is available from your state Department of Environmental Conservation (name of agency varies a bit from state to state).
An interesting article concerning the effects of diet on cardinal plumage is posted at: