The North Carolina State Bird & Flower, a male red cardinal sitting on the branch of a flowering dogwood. (Copyright and website text will NOT appear on prints and products)
The Northern Red Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) was designated the North Carolina state bird in 1943. It is found throughout most of the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, parts of eastern Canada, and down through eastern Mexico, ranging all the way from Nova Scotia to the Yucatán Peninsula, thriving in a wide range of habitats. A highly adaptable bird, it can be found in along forest edges, in overgrown fields, in marshy thickets, or even in suburban parks and backyards. The flowering dogwood became the offical state flower in 1941, as it is one of the most common trees in North Carolina. It grows throughout the state from the coast to the mountains. It prefers moist soils within deciduous forest where it likes to grow within the dappled shade of larger trees.