Karen Perry from Wild Birds Unlimited

Ever wonder about the cardinal mating season?  
Here are some fun facts:
* The mating season begins with pair formation that includes different physical displays of cardinals. The males show off to attract a female. They also do the courtship and mate feeding. Females choose their mates based on the male’s ornamentation such as the size of his black face mask as well as the color of his plumage and bill.
* Mate feeding occurs when the male cardinal picks up a seed, hops near the female and the two touch beaks so the female can take the food. That is such a sweet gesture. Mate feeding will go on until the female lays eggs and incubates them. Normally, pairs of cardinals stay together throughout the year and may breed for several seasons.
* Did you know that cardinals sing their best during the love season? They sing with great emphasis as evident in the swelling of their throat, spreading of their tail, drooping of wings and leaning from side to side as if performing on stage with much gusto. They repeat these melodies over and over again resting only for a short time to breathe.
* Cardinals are believed to breed from April to September. A female cardinal lays an average of three to four eggs. The females are responsible for incubating the eggs while the males look for food for his mate and later for their young. At nine to 10 days, the young cardinals can already fly. Once they leave their nest, the male parent takes care of the fledglings and feeds them with insects for three weeks while the female prepares for a second brood. It is said that the male has a strong instinct to feed such that he is capable of feeding fledglings of other species.
* Cardinal parents are also quite attentive in their behavior. The female usually sings a short song and makes a gurgling sound before leaving her nest. It is believed to be a signal to her mate that she is about to leave because the male appears instantly after she departs. The male then takes over the nest duties until the female comes home after a short time.
Meanwhile, Wild Birds Unlimited in Onalaska has imposed business restrictions to comply with the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine.
Karen Perry's daughter and store manager, Stephanie, closed the store temporarily on Tuesday. However, Wild Birds Unlimited offers curbside service.
"We have the customers call us and then Stephanie takes their order outside when they arrive," said Karen Perry, early Thursday morning. "They can call before they come, or when they arrive.  There is signage on the door."
Customers may call 608-781-5088, Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m., to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m., to noon.
Karen Perry said that during this time of quarantine people need some fun and nothing is more fun than watching and listening to birds especially during this mating and migration season.
"Stay well, feed the birds!" she said.