State symbols are often adopted after a collaborative effort by citizens and students to have a significant item recognized for its importance to the state. States such as Indiana, and many others began to adopt some of their own official state symbols many years ago, and in some cases, over 100 years ago.
A state symbol can come in the form of state animals, birds, flowers, musical instruments, a dance, nicknames, state seals, and much more.
Citizens, children, and educational institutions often research a particular symbol and make a request for a bill, tracking it all the way through the legislative process with the hope that it is enacted, and a new state symbol is announced for Indiana. Like other states, there are many Indiana state symbols. The Indiana state bird and flower are the Northern Cardinal (Richmondena Cardinalis Cardinalis) and the Peony (Paeonia).
What is the Indiana State Bird?
The official Indiana state bird is the northern cardinal and has been since 1933. Despite having such a unique and almost tropical appearance, they are one of the most commonly found backyard birds in the United States.
This is proven by how many other states have adopted this cardinal as the bird to represent them. They include states such as Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia.
These bright red birds are closely related to grosbeaks and buntings, their song is also fairly similar, commonly recognized for their “cheer cheer cheer”, or “whit-chew whit-chew” whistling noises. There are approximately 120 million of these stunning birds residing in the wild and their existence is fortunately not under threat.
These birds breed on average around 2 to 3 times per season, with the females building the nest and tending to their hatchlings for around 10 days while the males bring food.
After this 10-day period is over the female will leave the nest and begin starting a new clutch of eggs in a new nest whilst the male will take over looking after the previous hatchlings.
Facts About the Indiana State Bird
Northern Cardinal’s popularity is certainly no secret, they are smart and fun birds, bringing excitement and happiness to many Indiana residents. Due to this, there are many fun facts about the Indiana state bird that you may not have known, let’s take a look.
- When it comes to bird feeders, cardinals are usually the first to feed in the morning and the last to feed in the evening.
- They are classified as granivorous animals due to them living on a diet that consists pretty much solely of seeds.
- Their short and strong beaks are designed to crack open nuts and seeds.
- Due to the fact that they adore seeds so much, you can easily attract them to your garden with a bird feeder.
- They tend to feed each other via their beaks, which often looks like they are kissing!
- There are incredibly rare “yellow cardinals”, which are not commonly found or seen, even by bird watchers. When they are discovered, however, it makes bird-watching news!
- The oldest recorded cardinal made it to 15 years and 9 months old.
What is the Indiana State Flower?
The peony flower became the official Indiana state flower back in 1957 after the state decided to change the state flower from the zinnia flower. Peonies come in a variety of different colors, however, the peony that represents Indiana is not a specific color.
These flowers typically grow in singular or double forms and are grown and sold widely across the state of Indiana. Peony flowers are truly beautiful, and they bloom in many different shades of pink, white, red, and even yellow on rare occasions.
Additionally, peonies are literally grown wildly everywhere around the world! They are native to Asia, southern Europe, and western North America.
During the early years of Chinese history, the peony was considered by many the national flower, and members of the Tang Dynasty of China even began extensively breeding these beautiful flowers.
During the 11th century, their popularity began to spread internationally, with Japan being the first to start growing them, followed by France and England during the 18th century. It was during the late 1800s and early 1900s when these flowers began growing in popularity within the United States.
Most states will have their symbols showcase a relevant story, that is indicative of the state and its history, and the Hoosier State puts its history and what it stands for across very well in its state bird and flower. These interesting facts about Indiana and a whole host of others are what makes the state so unique and fascinating to those that live there, those that are planning to visit or are researching the historical events of the state and what they symbolize.