Male Northern Cardinal in the patio
A pair of cardinals have flown into our patio every morning and evening for the past four weeks. They love this particular seed block. They fly up onto the block and fill their beaks with seed; then they fly into the little palm bush and hide while they eat. In the spring I used to hear the "cheer, cheer" of the male as it established its territory. Although some reference sources say that the cardinals will sing all year, I haven't heard that particular sound lately.
"The [Northern] cardinal [Cardinalis cardinalis], probably the most recognized and popular bird in North America, is a year-round resident in the taller and denser desert brush of southern and central Arizona. It is named for the male cardinal’s resemblance to a Catholic cardinal’s crimson robe and peaked hat. The male is bright red with a black patch around its bill, while the female is a soft brown with red highlights. All cardinals have reddish-orange bills and crests. The cardinal is a seed eater and is expanding its range in Arizona. The cardinal, along with several other songbirds, picks up ants and rubs them through its feathers, probably because of the chemical secretions produced by the ants. These chemicals may act as insecticides, fungicides or miticides to control bird pests. The male cardinal is strongly territorial and will not only attack other males of its own species, but also its own image reflected on automobile hubcaps and windows. Renowned as a songster, the cardinal is one of the few bird species that sings all year and has at least 28 different songs."