While most people know that their state has an "official" bird, this wasn't implemented until the late 1920s. Since then, each state has selected a particular bird to represent the state. However, seven states selected the exact same bird, a Northern Cardinal. It's a popular and attractive bird, so it's no wonder people like it. But with over 1,000 unique varieties of birds in the U.S., surely each state could find one unique to them? Apparently, these seven states didn't think so.
Even though the official state colors are gold and blue, West Virginia picked this beautiful, bright-red bird to represent their state. Cardinals are native to the state and it's common to see them frequenting neighborhoods and parks looking for food and places to nest. You might enjoy sitting at the park eating a Golden Delicious Apple, the state fruit, while watching these birds fly by and care for their families.
While you'll find the pleasant singing of the northern cardinal in Ohio, interestingly, these birds did not originally live in the state. They migrated once the area became more developed. As trees were cut down and forests cleared, there was more open land that appealed to these beautiful birds. Now many of them call it their home. If you want a unique experience, try drinking the state's official beverage, tomato juice, while keeping an eye out for these brightly colored birds.
North Carolina has a number of state icons, many of them quite familiar and readily found, so it's no surprise the cardinal makes the list. Their state insect is a honeybee and the state beverage is milk. Perhaps the most fun thing to note is the use of red and blue throughout the state icons. They've even opted for two official state berries, strawberries and blueberries, to make sure the colors are well represented.
Illinois is definitely home to a large number of cardinals but had also considered several others to represent their state, including meadowlark, bobwhite quail, bluebird, and oriole. In the end, it was schoolchildren who cast the final vote in 1928 to make the northern cardinal their state bird. Other fun things to note: the state snack food is popcorn as of 2003. The Monarch butterfly is the official insect of the state.
You'll find the northern cardinal's bright red throughout the year in Indiana. They officially adopted it as the state bird in 1933. Indiana provides the perfect amount of forests and open areas for these stunning fowl to make their homes. While they picked a very common and popular bird to represent the state, Indiana has a very unique state tree, the Tulip Poplar, that is part of the magnolia family.
Cardinals are happy campers in the Bluegrass State, Kentucky. The residents are quite committed to these birds representing their state. It was officially instated in February of 1926 and then reaffirmed in 1942. While traditionally called a northern cardinal, some refer to it as the Kentucky cardinal. Cardinals are known to mate for life and be very protective of their families.
Virginia is for lovers, so it's no surprise they picked the cardinal as the state bird. These stunning red and brown birds pick a life-long partner and raise their chicks together. Even their bird courtship is considered to be romantic. The male will bring dinner to his potential mate and feed it directly to her. Often people think the birds are kissing when they see this happen. The birds work together as a pair to raise two sets of chicks each year.
Although Arizona opted for the Cactus Wren as their state bird, they still wanted to keep clear ties to the northern cardinal. The state's professional football team opted to use the cardinal as their mascot. These birds can be found in Arizona, though they aren't as commonly seen as in the other states on this list.
The official state bird of Missouri is the Eastern Bluebird. Still, the bird can be found nesting in the "Show-Me" state. Their ties to the bird also include using it as the mascot for their professional baseball team, the St. Louis Cardinals. It seems everywhere this bird lives, everyone wants to broadcast their love for it.
Fantastic Flowers for Bird Lovers
If your idea of a relaxing evening is to sit on your patio and watch birds in your garden, be sure to plant flowers that attract them. You'll find that adding these flowering plants to your garden will attract a variety of birds and make it look beautiful too. Make sure you have your binoculars handy and even a bird identification app so you can show off to your friends how many birds you've seen frequenting your garden.
12 Popular Plants to Absolutely Avoid Growing In Your Garden
While gardening can be fun, make sure you avoid the plants on this list unless you want a headache. Some plants can become quite invasive and others have roots that can destroy the foundation of your house or break up sidewalks. Keep these plants out of your garden and you're on your way to a more pleasant and low-maintenance gardening experience.
Gorgeous, Self-Seeding Flowers You'll Only Have to Plant Once
Growing flowers from seeds is an inexpensive and great way to grow annuals (plants that only live for one year). However, just because you plant them once doesn't mean you'll have to re-plant them each. Some plants self-seed quite easily and will come back year after year with very little effort on your part. Many of these flowers also attract pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, to your garden.
The Worst Gardening Mistakes Beginners Make Regularly
Gardening is a lot of fun but can also be quite overwhelming if you're just starting out. Naturally, new gardeners often learn from what they see more experienced growers doing. Sometimes this can lead to mistakes as beginners don't have the same knowledge and experience. These mistakes can be avoidable, but you have to know what to look for.
This article originally appeared on Succulents and Sunshine.