Cardinalis cardinalis (Linnaeus)
The cardinal was a much less common bird on the Great Plains until the arrival of Euro-Americans, and so its presence in Native history & folklore is largely confined to Native tribes further east, such as the Tsalagi (Cherokee). With the “settling” of the Plains came trees—from an impulse to make the Plains more like “home” (i.e., back east). As creator of the original Arbor Day, Nebraska was a leader in making more trees (and thus more cardinals) a priority: “It was estimated that more than one million trees were planted in Nebraska on the first Arbor Day” (Nebraska Public Media Foundation, “J. Sterling Morton: Founder of Arbor Day”).