Cardinal Contour Feather

Cardinals are a family of songbirds found in North and South America, the males of which are characteristically bright red. Indeed, the name of the birds is believed to have developed because of the similarity of their coloration to the apparel worn by cardinals of the Catholic Church. Female cardinals are usually a duller reddish hue than their male counterparts and may also be predominantly an olive brown color. Pairs of cardinals often sing duets, males and females answering each otherís calls in loud, clear whistled notes. Though illegal in modern times, in the 1800s cardinals were often captured and placed in cages to be sold at high prices in both American and European markets. In the wild, cardinals inhabit a variety of areas, including woodlands, thickets, clearings, parks, and suburban areas, where they may feed upon flowers, berries, seeds, and young leaves. As exhibited above, cardinal contour feathers have thick barbules at the base, but become much thinner at the end and have relatively few hooks.

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