Adult northern cardinals are predated by domestic cats, domestic dogs, Cooper's hawks, loggerhead shrikes, northern shrikes, eastern gray squirrels, long-eared owls and eastern screech-owls. Nestlings and eggs are vulnerable to predation by snakes, birds and small mammals. Egg and nestling predators include milk snakes, black racers, pilot black snakes, blue jays, fox squirrels, red squirrels and eastern chipmunks. Brown-headed cowbirds also remove eggs from the nest, sometimes eating them.
When confronted with a predator near their nest, both male and female northern cardinals will give an alarm call that is a short, chipping note, and fly toward the predator in an attempt to scare them away. They do not aggressively mob predators.
- domestic cats (Felis silvestris)
- domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris)
- Cooper's hawks (Accipiter cooperii)
- loggerhead shrikes (Lanius ludovicianus)
- northern shrikes (Lanius excubitor)
- eastern gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis)
- long-eared owls (Asio otus)
- eastern screech owls (Otus asio)
- milk snakes (Lampropeltis triangulum elapsoides)
- black racers (Coluber constrictor)
- pilot black snakes (Pantherophis obsoletus)
- blue jays (Cyanocitta cristata)
- fox squirrels (Sciurus niger)
- red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)
- eastern chipmunks (Tamias striatus)
- brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater)
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