The state bird of Illinois is the northern cardinal, or Cardinalis cardinalis, which was adopted in the late 1920s. This is also the state bird of several other states in the eastern United States, since it is so abundant. It can be found in many different types of habitats, including residential back yards. The adult males of this species are very recognizable, due to their bright red coloring.
In 1928, a women's club decided that the state bird of Illinois needed to be chosen. To accomplish this task, they enlisted the help of schoolchildren. Each school in the state was given a list of birds to choose from, and the cardinal won with almost 40,000 votes. Other birds on the list included the blue bird, meadowlark, quail, and oriole. During the summer of 1929, however, Illinois officially adopted the cardinal as its state bird.
Illinois was the first state to adopt the cardinal as its official state bird. Six other states, however, have the same state bird. These states are Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Besides it brilliant coloring, the cardinal was also chosen because it is very abundant there. In fact, it is present in much of the eastern half of the united States. It can also be found in the southeastern parts of Canada, as well as the eastern parts of Mexico. The cardinal was also introduced to parts of California and Hawaii.
Cardinals can often be found in dense forests. While they seem to prefer dense woodlands, they can also be found in swamps and parks as well. Many individuals may also see them in their back yards. The state bird of Illinois has been known to frequent residents' bird feeders, specially those containing sunflower seeds.
The most noticeable aspect of the state bird of Illinois is its color. Male cardinals are bright crimson in color. They also have a very noticeable crest, or tuft, of feathers on top of their heads. A black area surrounds their eyes are red bill. Females are a little less flashy, with brownish gray feathers. Typically, just their wings, tails, crests, and bills are red.
In many areas, the state bird of Illinois can be seen year round, even in the winter. They do not migrate, like some other birds, and they are often even more noticeable against a background of white snow. In fact, they may even be seen in large groups during the cold months.