A northern cardinal perched in a common winterberry bush in Marion County, Illinois, USA
© Richard and Susan Day/Danita Delimon
A berry merry Christmas. Northern cardinal in winterberry bush
This scarlet songbird dazzling our homepage is a northern cardinal, found throughout North America and as far south as Belize and Guatemala. They spend their winters in the eastern USA, brightening up dreary winter months with flashes of fiery colour. It's only the male cardinal that sports the crimson plumage. Females are mostly light brown, with a bit of red. Some people believe sighting a cardinal is good luck or a message of support from a lost loved one.
That bush it is perched in is a scarlet winterberry shrub, a deciduous holly that's native to North America. The yellow and green flower clusters that bloom in spring give way to bright red berries in winter. The perfect spot to sing in the Christmas holidays.