2020 55¢ Winter Scenes: Northern Cardinal
Value: 55¢ 1-ounce First-class rate (Forever)
Issue Date: October 16, 2020
First Day City: Winter Park, FL
Type of Stamp: Definitive
Printed by: Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd.
Printing Method: Offset
Format: Double-sided booklet of 20
Quantity Printed: 400,000,000
The northern cardinal is one of the most recognizable songbirds in North America. The male's bright red plumage and dramatic crest make it easy to spot in any environment. The bird was named after the cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church, who have historically worn vivid scarlet robes and caps.
There are 19 subspecies of cardinal, but the most well-known is the northern cardinal. Interestingly, the defining red color of male birds is dependent on their consumption of pigments in their food. Some birds that eat only yellow pigments are a much paler red color, while those that eat both red and yellow have the reddest feathers. However, a few rare birds have been found to lack the enzyme needed to create red feather pigment. These birds have yellow feathers and beaks.
During the winter months in the northern United States, many birds fly south for the season. However, northern cardinals stick around. They survive the cold weather by fluffing their feathers and trapping heat against their bodies. To help them out during these tough months, many bird enthusiasts hang black oil sunflower seed feeders – a favorite food of cardinals. After all, what could be better than having bright red birds flying past your window during the grayest months of the year?