Because northern cardinals eat large quantities of seeds and fruits, they may help disperse seeds for some plants. They may also affect the composition of plant communities because they are seed predators and seed dispersers.
Northern cardinals provide food for their predators. They also sometimes raise the chicks of Molothrus ater that are brood parasites and lay eggs in the nests of other birds. This helps local brown-headed cowbird populations. Northern cardinals also provide habitat for many internal and external parasites.
Ecosystem Impact: disperses seeds
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