Do Cardinals Mate For Life?

Last Updated on March 15, 2022 by Mary Junriza C.

Do cardinals mate for life? How long do they stay with their mating partner? That is what we are going to find out in this blog.

For sure you have seen the cardinals being with their partners all time. It is hard not to see cardinals that are not in pairs. The best answer is yes. Cardinals do stay together with their partners all year long. Some pairs are even inseparable but other cardinals go together in pairs. 

What You Need Know About How Cardinals Mate

During romance, northern cardinals feed each other with their beaks. Male and female cardinals additionally convey through tunes. Psssst-this is the thing a cardinal’s call seems like.

Typically, the life expectancy of the cardinal birds is five years. This happens all the more regularly with bigger species, like bald eagles and swans, and birds that don’t relocate, like northern cardinals. Here is a portion of different sorts of birds that mate forever.

A few cardinals would break up with their partner and look for new mates. Some birders have found such a situation even during the mating season but probably for reasons that the male have become weak. Even so, cardinals would stay with the same partner for as long as they can give their short lifespan. In case the other one dies; the survivor will try to look for a new mate.


 Do cardinals come back to the same nest every year?


The Unique Way of How Cardinals Choose Their Partner

Mating is somehow also built with trust among birds and they don’t just choose any male partner. Birds like being male birds that are strong and aggressive when it comes to food hunting. Deep inside, birds like a male bird that can look out for the family. 

Even so, the fact that the female bird is looking for another partner is for breeding purposes. Birds have different characteristics and behavior. Since they don’t talk, their emotions and feelings can be judged by how they react to certain situations.

 do cardinals mate for life


Cardinals are well-known as common lovers. The northern cardinal male will normally take care of the northern female cardinal during romance. They get to know one another all year when they are enamored. You can have northern cardinals visit your bird feeder routinely.

Female cardinals assemble homes in brambles and bushes. Building the home might take her as long as 9 days or less. With the guys helping, it may require 3 days or a couple of something else. Female cardinals lay 2 to 3 eggs, or here and there 4 eggs all at once. The incubation period can last 11 to 13 days. The male cardinals will stay with their mates and bring them food.

Note that cardinals have a long rearing season from late March to early September. They lay eggs double a year throughout these spring and late spring months. In a few southern states, cardinals might even have 3 broods in a year.

Cardinals Vs. Cowbirds

Surprisingly, cardinals aren’t that safe even when they’re lucky to have a forever partner. As females build the nest, the cowbirds could only observe from a distance. But once the cardinal lays eggs and flies away in search of food, the cowbird takes over the nest to lay her eggs. 

Cowbirds would poke the cardinal’s eggs but since both eggs are roughly the same size and grow at pretty much the same rate, the cowboy bird would just on all the eggs. Sad as it may seem, you cannot remove the cowbird. 

 Do cardinals mourn the loss of a mate?

You may hate the cowbird, but the cardinal eggs are safe with the cowbird inside. If you throw away the cowbird’s eggs, it will destroy the remaining egg in the nest. This will be the tragic end of your cardinal birds. Moreover, cardinal birds cannot distinguish their eggs from foreign ones. Hence, you can see cowbirds and cardinal birds hatching together.

The Cardinal Bird’s Prey

Cardinals are also being preyed on by some other birds. Owls, small hawks, and cats are the major predators of these sweet birds. On the other hand, blue hays and crows would also try to invade their nests. But don’t worry about cardinals. When they are away they could be feeding on some other bird’s nest too. This is why birds are a very important part of the ecosystem because they have a role in every cycle.

Cardinals may engage in a fight with other small birds to protect their offspring. But some other birds like hawks are way too big for them that they eventually lose their offspring to them. This is also the reason why the cardinals stick with their stronger partners because they can ward off their predators.


 How long do cardinal mates stay together?


What Happens When A Cardinal Loses Its Mate?

The event could be a sad day for the survivor bird. A cardinal that loses its partner doesn’t find a partner right away.

Do Cardinals Come Back To The Same Nest Every Year?

Cardinals never reuse a home but there are instances when they return to it. So if you see an empty cardinal nest, don't throw it away, If the best has positive circumstances such as great foliage, food sources, water, they could live again in the same nest or assemble another home close to their old home.

Do Cardinals Mourn The Loss Of A Mate?

The quick answer is yes. Like humans, birds do have feelings. While it is hard to tell how they mourn, birds can also feel the loss of their mate. When they look for another, it doesn’t necessarily mean forgetting their old mate. They don’t quickly find another mate.

How Long Do Cardinal Mates Stay Together?

Cardinal mates stay together for as long as they can. Normally, they can stay with the same mate for a year and then relax their relationship during the winter. Thereafter, they return to the same mate again.

How Long Do Cardinals Live?

Northern cardinals can live up to 3 to 5 years. Some cardinals do have a life span f 13 to 15 years. The longevity records reveal that there were a few cardinals that have lived for 28 years. Given the fairest scenario and condition of the environment, these birds might be able to reach their longest life span.

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