Indiana State Bird

What Is the State Bird of Indiana?

The state bird of Indiana is the Northern Cardinal, and it has been the state bird since 1933. The songbird is known for its bright red feathers that are synonymous with just about every variety of Cardinal. The Cardinal can be spotted in both the forests and the open plains of Indiana. Because the Northern Cardinal is such a common sight across the state, it was nominated as the state bird.

Why Did Indiana Pick the Northern Cardinal To Be Its State Bird?

The vast majority of states tend to pick birds that are common in the state or are easily visible. The state of Indiana is no different. The Northern Cardinal lives in Indiana during the entire year, and it nests in the saplings and shrubs throughout the state. In addition, the Northern Cardinal is closely tied to the human population because it eats seeds that would otherwise turn into weeds and targets insects that would otherwise kill crops. When this is combined with the beautiful color of its feathers and how easily it can be spotted, it is easy to see why residents in the state picked the Northern Cardinal to be the state bird.

When Did Indiana Pick the Northern Cardinal as its State Bird?

Indiana selected its state bird around the same time as other states across the country. In the 1930s, Indiana decided that it needed a state bird, and it tasked the legislature to conduct a campaign to pick a state bird. In 1933, the Indiana General Assembly passed a resolution declaring the Northern Cardinal as the official bird of the state. Indiana shares the Northern Cardinal as its state bird with a handful of other states, including North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, and West Virginia.

What Does the Northern Cardinal Look Like?

The Northern Cardinal's male and female birds look alike. The male usually has a brighter red hue, while the female tends to have a few brown feathers mixed in as well. The male Northern Cardinal is a little bit larger than the female, but not by much. The Northern Cardinal may have a few grey feathers on the upper part of its chest, but the feathers are mostly red. The beak is usually black with a bit of brown at its base. The wingspan is about 12 inches, while the bird usually weighs less than two ounces.

What Does the Northern Cardinal Do?

These birds can be spotted throughout the shrubs in the wild, and they tend to live in thickets and woodlands. They can also be found living in the fields and along fences. Their red color makes them easy to spot. They usually live about 15 years, and the male is responsible for hunting for food and bringing it back to the nest. The cardinals also have a distinctive song that makes them easy to only see but also to hear. The birds are synonymous with the ecosystem of Indiana.

Indiana state bird
Northern cardinal
Scientific Name
Cardinalis cardinalis
Year Became Official