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BirdNote: Feisty Cardinal

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Tom Grey
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You may not have seen a Northern Cardinal in the wild, but you've probably seen one on holiday cards or the cover of a bird book. During spring breeding season, biologist Eric Lind and his team capture and band birds at Constitution Marsh on the east side of the Hudson River.

For eight years in a row, Eric caught the very same female cardinal. Eight years — that's about twice the average age of an adult cardinal.

This aggressive female didn't just peck at the banders' fingers like other captured birds, but clamped its strong bill on to the soft flesh between his thumb and first finger. And held on tight. Not just another pretty face, but a feisty survivor!  

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