What Does It Mean When You See a Cardinal?

“When the cardinals are here,” the old saying goes, “the angels are near.”

Cardinals bring messages of hope and encouragement whenever you see them, but especially if you see them in the coldest days of winter.

Cardinals are North American birds that don’t fly south for the winter. They stay in the same general location through cold, snowy, icy weather, enduring the challenges of finding food, fending off predators, and staying warm all winter long.

Sighting a cardinal in early spring is a sign of protection, renewal, and hope.

In general, cardinals are beautiful birds that play central roles in a great deal of folklore and modern mystery.

We will tell you more about what it means to see a cardinal in the spring, what it means to see a cardinal at Christmas, and the cardinal in New Age thinking.

But first, let’s answer a very basic question—how do you recognize a cardinal when you see one?

Cardinals Are the Red Bird That Isn’t Always Red

Male cardinals are beautiful birds prized for their brilliantly red feathers.

Many backyard bird watchers make being a cardinal synonymous with its red plumage.

The reality is, however, that only the male cardinal is decked out in bright red feathers.

But the female cardinal, lacking bright red plumage of her own, is also beautiful in her own way.

What Does It Mean When You See a Cardinal

Male cardinals know how to shake their tail feathers

You are more likely to notice male cardinals than female cardinals not just because of their distinctively red feathers, but also because of their animated courtship dance.

Male cardinals have a bright red crest, a bright red chest, and grayish-red feathers on their backs.

Occasionally, male cardinals will have black tail feathers and black feathers on their wings.

The male cardinal sings a love song for five to 10 seconds to a nearby female. If the female is interested, she will dance while he is singing. 

Ornithologists have observed that the male will fly away (this is what you are likely to see), and the female will pursue him to continue their courtship.

Also read: Birds That Look Like Cardinals (with Images)

Female cardinals also sing and dance to attract their mates

You may have seen a female cardinal repeat the male’s romantic song and dance without realizing that you were looking at a cardinal.

That’s because the female cardinal’s plumage is quite different/

In this species, both males and females are actively involved in raising their young.

The male may sacrifice himself to lure a predator away from the nest. This is made possible by his red plumage.

The female, on the other hand, has a coloration that lends itself to camouflage.

Females have red beaks, but they have light brown to gray feathers on the rest of their bodies.

Most backyard bird watchers first notice females sitting on their nests.

Also read: Do Cardinals Mate For Life?

Male and Female Cardinals Bring Different Messages

Because male and female cardinals look so different, they play different roles in North American folklore.

What It Means When You See a Male Cardinal

Seeing a male cardinal is interpreted as a message from the realm of spirit. It may be a sign that a deceased relative or an ancestor is watching over you.

It can be a sign that your spirit guide is trying to get your attention.

It can also be a sign that you are your own angel, that there is guidance and inspiration already inside of you that you need to bring to your conscious mind.

What It Means When You See A Female Cardinal

Seeing a female cardinal means you are about to receive good news, or something good is about to happen to you in the near future.

Female cardinals are seen as a sign you can turn your dreams into reality. They are a harbinger of good times ahead.

Female cardinals may bring the news that meeting a romantic partner is in your near future.

Both Male and Female Cardinals Can Bring Messages of Encouragement

Cardinals are hardy birds.

They survive year-round in wooded areas as far south as Mexico City and as far north as Toronto. Cardinals are survivors.

Many Native American tribes in eastern North America told stories of the cardinal’s deep connections to the Great Spirit.

If you see cardinals over and over again, you are being told that you have abundant protection from the Great Spirit in your life.

If you have been going through a tough time, seeing cardinals can be a message that it is time to do things differently.

You have to make yourself ready for the positive transformations in your life, but once you do, the spirit world is there to help.

The Male Cardinal Urges You to Take a Positive Attitude

Red birds are a symbol of hope.

For people who have suffered through long metaphorical or actual winters, hope doesn’t come naturally.

Just as you have to be alert to see the red cardinal bird, you also need to be alert to positive signs in your day-to-day life.

Where you see the bright red cardinal is part of his message to you.

  • Seeing a red cardinal when you’re out with friends tells you that you are about to meet someone special. Seeing a red cardinal when you are out on a date tells you that you are with the right person.
  • If you see a red cardinal bird on your way to work, he is telling you that a good work day is ahead.
  • If you see a red cardinal bird on the way to the doctor’s office, he is telling you that there is hope in your diagnosis. Listen carefully to understand the upside of what your doctor has to say. If you see a red cardinal bird on the way back from the doctor’s office, he is telling you that you can recover after a stressful time.
  • If you see a red cardinal bird on the way to a job interview, he is telling you to maintain a positive attitude. If you see a red cardinal bird on the way back from a job interview, he is telling you that you were considered favorably for the job.
  • Red cardinals flying around children at play are a sign that the children are receiving spiritual protection.
  • If you see a red cardinal bird on the way to or from a funeral, he is telling you that your loved one is watching over you.

Seeing a dead cardinal, on the other hand, is a message to you that your current path leads to a dead end.

You need to change your course and open yourself to new possibilities to get what you want from your life.

Aren’t Cardinal Birds Mentioned in the Bible?

The Bible actually doesn’t have a reference to cardinals.

The ancient Middle East was not a home to these birds.

Some Christian theologians, however, imagine the cardinal as symbolizing the third person of the Christian trinity, the Holy Spirit.

The cardinal’s fiery-red feathers represent the Holy Spirit’s ability to communicate with tongues of fire.

In Christian traditions that place emphasis on the saving nature of the Blood of Christ, the cardinal represents the life-giving nature of Jesus Christ and his ongoing saving ministry.

Negative Associations with the Appearance of Cardinals

There aren’t a lot of negative connotations to be placed on sighting a cardinal, but a few are worth mentioning.

  • The male cardinal’s bright red feathers can be a symbol of anger or aggression. If you see cardinals so often that you start feeling uncomfortable, their message may be that you need to deal with unresolved anger inside you or directed at you.
  • The presence of a bright red cardinal can also be a sign of Christ-like sacrifice. This can mean that you or someone you know is soon to make a sacrifice or even pass into the realm of spirit.
  • A flock of red cardinals can be a warning that aggression is being directed at you. Take the message, and get out of the way!

Even when the cardinal’s message is negative, it is only to give you the knowledge you need to make the choices that pave the way for a better day.

Frequently Asked Questions About What It Means When You See a Cardinal

Q. What does it mean when you see a cardinal at night?

A. Seeing a cardinal at night means that a loved one is trying to break through your depression or preoccupation with difficulties to reconnect with you, in only for a few moments at a time.

Q, What does it mean when you see a cardinal after someone dies?

A. Seeing a cardinal after someone dies is a message that they are still with you, watching you in spirit.

Q. What does it mean when you see a cardinal and a blue jay together?

A. Cardinals and blue jays are natural enemies.

When you see them together, you can look forward to the resolution of a conflict and peace in your life.

Q. What does it mean when you see a cardinal in your window?

A. Seeing a cardinal in your window means that someone with the potential to love you is looking for you in their life.

Q. What does it mean when you see a red bird in a dream?

A. Seeing a red bird in a dream usually is not an auspicious portent.

It means you are overwhelmed by some aspect of your life, but you are plodding on, life a cardinal in winter.

Q. What does it mean when you hear a cardinal, but don’t see them?

A. The cardinal’s song calls back precious memories of those who are no longer with us in the material world.

Other articles you may also like: