North Carolina State Bird

The selection of the North Carolina State Bird is an amusing little story. By 1943 North Carolina and Connecticut were the only states in America not to have adopted an official state bird.

However, ten years earlier the General Assembly of North Carolina had passed a resolution adopting a bird as the symbol of this picturesque state.

At the urging of the Federation of Women`s Clubs the assembly had designated the Chickadee as the N.C. State Bird. To their dismay that Assembly of 1933 were then told that the nickname for the Chickadee was the Tom Tit.

Their horror at learning that they might become known as "the Tom Tit State" was too much for them. Within a week a second resolution was passed and the brief life of the Chickadee as State Bird came to an end.

The subject was then left for ten years which is the reason why North Carolina was lagging behind the rest of the Union in this matter by 1943.

Then in that year the Federation of Women`s Clubs, still red faced about the Tom Tit debacle, let the North Carolina Bird Club initiate a new campaign to select a new state bird. They ran a campaign supported by schools, wildlife clubs and some newspapers to get the still embarrassed General Assembly to select a new state bird.

The Bird Club campaign resulted in over 23,000 votes being sent in. There were 26 different candidates including the Wild Turkey, the Catbird, the Scarlet Tanager and the Red Winged Blackbird.

But the most popular choice, with 5,000 votes was the Cardinal, second was the Dove with 3,395 votes.

So that is how, in 1943, the Cardinal became their bird. Other states with the same bird as its symbol are, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.

The natural habitat of the Cardinal spreads over half the United States going as far west as Dakota and Arizona, north into Canada and south into Central America.


It is a beautiful, medium sized bird.

The male has all year round bright red plummage while the female has shades of brown, red and grey.

Unlike most other bird species, in which only the male sings, both male and female Cardinals vocalise. The male sings to attract a mate or ward off intruders and the female sings to signal the male to bring food to their nest.

So that is the Cardinal and the fashion in which it became the North Carolina State Bird.





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