Normally, pairs of cardinals stay together throughout the year and may breed for several seasons. Food: The northern cardinal's strong, thick bill is perfect for large seeds, and black oil sunflower seeds and safflower seeds are two of their favorites. Pairs of male and female cardinals remain with each other year round. Other: Cardinals will usually build the nests from twigs, pine needles, grass, and other plant material. The chicks leave the nest when they are 9 to 10 days old. Image of kiss, branch, bird - 71221671 They may begin breeding the next spring. Also see "helping" (cooperative breeding) where individuals other than the male–female pair help to raise a brood. When feeding an incubating female, the male may call to her softly. The parents continue to feed them for 25 to 56 days when the young become independent and have learned how to feed themselves. Photo about Two cardinals feeding each other. Cardinal eggs have an incubation period of 11 to 13 days. 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