A pair of Northern Red Cardinals perch on a snow covered fence decorated with colorful Christmas lights. (Coyright and website text will NOT appear on original, prints, or products)
Cardinals are a popular element in Christmas holiday decorations, as ornaments, on greeting cards and wrapping paper, and many other things we associate with Christmas. Cardinals are probably associated with Christmas because they are one of the few colorful birds seen in winter in North America since they don't migrate south for the winter like many other birds. Other birds that we think of as colorful, such as the American Goldfinch, may hang around in winter but the male loses his bright yellow breeding plumage at this time of year and becomes a dull olive-brown, more like the female. The male red cardinal stays bright red all year round and really stands out against the gray and white winter landscape. And, being red, he ties in well with the traditional red & green holiday decor. So it's not surprising that this little spot of cheerful color in the dreary days of winter has become a favorite symbol of the holiday season.