Depicting the bird song every morning might make you wonder, what does a cardinal sound like? Cardinals are easy to spot; their bright red feathers jump out of the landscape. But you can easily recognize their singing too.

You can hear the cardinals calling if you’re an early morning riser. What does cardinal sound like? A few whistles, a soft cheer that lasts for a few seconds, a long break, and a repeated call. But there are a few different ways a cardinal might sound, depending on the situation. Unlike other birds, both the male and the female of the species sing.

Here’s an insight into the cardinal’s cheer.

When Do Cardinals Sing?

Cardinals can sing and call. The calls are the sound you hear on early spring and summer mornings. These are the best times when you can hear the cardinal’s call clearly. This is the alarm they use to alert other birds and get together in a flock.

Cardinals are early risers, flapping their wings with the first sunrays. The cardinals usually perch on a noticeable spot like a tall branch and start their call.

When Do Cardinals Sing

Cardinals have 28 different sounds, but there are 2 you can hear more often. There’s always a reason why do cardinals chirp a certain way. Males are often the first that start chirping and the females join in. This is not very common in the bird world, usually, males sing before mating to impress the females.

Despite the mornings, these birds might call and sing on several more occasions.

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Normal Cardinal Song

A regular cardinal song is cheerful, starting with a whistle, a few chirps sounding like birdie birdie birdie speeding towards the end a slowly stopping. This song comes from the male cardinal and it’s initiated during courtship, mating and

Warning Cardinal Chirping

What does a cardinal sound like when defending their territory? Cardinals sing when fighting over territory. The first male will perch on a prominent spot and start singing. The visiting bird will then repeat the song. This continues for a while until the cardinal who is established on the territory fights the intruder.

This singing is similar to the song they sing while mating. To be sure what the sound means, look for the birds singing. If they’re 2 males, then it’s a territorial song.

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What Does A Cardinal Sound Like When Mating

During courtship, the cardinals start countersinging. The male initiates the song while the female repeats the exact sound. This performance is unique to the cardinals. But what does a cardinal sound like when looking for a mate?

They start with one song, repeat it a few times, and then switch to another. The female then repeats the new song. Experts believe that the longer they sing, the stronger their bond becomes. The song can sound like tew tew or whoit whoit.

Nesting Songs

Female cardinals build their nest in dense shrubs and trees, 3 to 9 feet off the ground. The mother lays the eggs for 11 to 13 days. Then, she stays with her young until they fledge in approximately 9 to 12 days.

Since she doesn’t leave the nest, the male will bring food to her. The mother cardinal lets out a call from the nest for the male to come and bring food. He then repeats the song as a sign of receiving the message. As the male approaches the nest, he lets out another sound to make the female aware of his arrival.

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Not All Cardinals Sound The Same

What does it mean to hear a cardinal sing? Cardinal songs can be grouped in a few categories: calls, communication, courtship, and warning.

The male cardinals typically announce early morning sounds as a call to other nearby cardinals. Courtship sounds are longer and produced by a male and female cardinal.

Warning sounds are intense, enraged, and let out by males and females. Cardinals are very protective of their young, so they will let out an angry alarm if you happen to approach their nest. What does a cardinal sound like when warning of intruders? This song is speed-up and sounds like chirp chirp chirp instead of their relaxed whoit.

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What Does A Cardinal Sound Like

Not all cardinal species sound the same, and some might not even be cardinals. So if you don’t have cardinals in our state, you probably wonder what bird sounds similar to a cardinal?

Pyrrhuloxias sound is commonly confused with cardinal’s song as the syllables are similar, but the cardinal has a higher pitch. What adds to the confusion is that female cardinals and pyrrhuloxias look alike.

How Many Cardinals Live In North America

There are 2 cardinal species in North America, the northern cardinal and the red-crested or Brazilian cardinal. The northern cardinal is the more common one and abundant in Iowa, Ohio, Missouri, Kansas, and Indiana.

Cardinals don’t migrate, so you can enjoy their singing year-round. What does a cardinal sound like in winter? It’s not impossible to hear a cardinal in winter. However, they’re more active in spring and summer. Adding a few birdfeeders in winter attracts more cardinals so you can enjoy their singing.

How Long Is A Cardinal Song

Each cardinal song has a different length. What does a cardinal sound like relaxed in the morning is different than when warning of danger. Alarms are 2 to 3 seconds long and intense, while courtship countersinging is the longest and can last a few minutes. If you approach their nest, they won’t stop angrily chirping until you move.

How do you call a cardinal? Cardinals communicate by repeating the sound. So you can try to replicate their sound, but it’s not likely to succeed. Cardinals prefer to hide in shrubs, and even though you can clearly hear them, they tend to avoid human interaction.

How Long Is A Cardinal Song

Bottom Line: What Does A Cardinal Sound Like?

The cardinal has some of the most beautiful songs in the bird world. What does a cardinal sound like? Think of a joyful morning bird song that starts off as a call and continues with whoit whoit whoit until it speeds up and fades.

Cardinals sing when they want to mate, communicate with others, and chase off intruders, whether they’re other birds or humans.


What does it mean to hear a cardinal sing?

Cardinals sing every morning as a way to communicate with their flock. They also sing when trying to mate and as a defense mechanism against intruders. In addition, females sing to ask the males to bring food to the nest.

What bird sounds similar to a cardinal?

Pyrrhuloxia birds look and sound like cardinals, but their voice is lower-pitched.

How do you call a cardinal?

Cardinals communicate by countersinging, so they might respond if you try to imitate their song.

Why do cardinals chirp?

Cardinals chirp to protect their territory and chase off intruders. The joyful chirp is a call for mates and a way for two partner birds to communicate.

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