2018 50¢ Birds in Winter: Northern Cardinal
Value: 50¢ 1-ounce First-Class Rate (Forever)
Issue Date: September 22, 2018
First Day City: Quechee, VT
Type of Stamp: Definitive
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Printing Method: Offset
Format: Double-sided booklet of 20
Quantity Printed: 400,000,000
The northern cardinal is a bright red songbird that is a favorite among all birders. The male cardinal has the customary red feathers and black mask, while the female is a dull reddish-olive with a gray mask. Both sexes have crests on top of their heads that can be raised when agitated or trying to attract a mate.
During mating season, male northern cardinals sway side to side and sing softly to call in a female. If his efforts are rewarded by the appearance of a female, the male begins to feed her in order to bond and show his worthiness. Once the two mate, they then pair together for life.
The male and female cardinal look for possible nest locations as a team. Once an acceptable site is located, the female is the primary nest builder, though the male helps by bringing her materials. Male cardinals are extremely attentive mates and will feed the female throughout the entire incubation of her eggs. Males are also in charge of caring for the brood of young birds while the female incubates the next generation of eggs. The male cardinal's main task is to provide for and defend his young. He also teaches his children the unique songs passed down through generations of cardinals.
Northern cardinals are beautiful birds enjoyed by both birders and non-birders alike. They're distinctive songs and admirable devotion to their mates make them fun to watch throughout the dull winter.