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When a cardinal appears in your yard, it’s a visitor from heaven

Cardinal memorials

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There is an old folklore saying that, “When a cardinal appears in your yard, it’s a visitor from heaven.” People often wonder what it means when God sends a cardinal to their yard.

Let’s take a look at the legacy of this quote and the memorial tributes it has inspired.

Cardinals appear when angels are near

When a Cardinal Appears Quotes

Cardinals have long been symbolic of beauty in the midst of darkness, hope in the midst of sorrow, and renewal in the midst of winter.

Whether these symbolic meanings came from the folk proverb, or the proverb came from the traditional symbolism, in any case many people are reminded of the presence of a departed loved one when seeing a cardinal bird land nearby.

It’s also probably a reason why our lovely Cardinal Cremation Urn with Wood Inlay Art has been one of our most popular memorial urns over the past few years.

Here’s a pithy, poetic version of this traditional quote:

“Cardinals appear when angels are near.”

This latter quote appears to have come from a poem and blog post by Victoria McGovern of Our Wander Life. Here’s the context of the fuller version:

May you come to find comfort in and remember:
Cardinals appear when angels are near.
So go now, sit outside and drink your tea.
Keep a look out for the little red bird —
It is there, your loved one will be.

I’ve also seen the quote phrased in other ways:

  • When God sends a cardinal, it’s a visitor from heaven
  • Cardinals appear when loved ones are near
  • When you keep seeing a certain type of bird, it is usually a heaven-sent messenger of love for you

Find more sympathy quotes about cardinals & departed loved ones here.

Christians & Cardinals

As a Christian, I have to be wary of trying to divine too much meaning from circumstances. God’s word is clearly revealed to us in the Scriptures, and the Bible is sufficient for all we need.

For example, why wonder about the meaning of a bird flitting by when we have this great comfort directly from Jesus himself: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Still, God’s glory and care is shown to us in creation. God is in charge of every sparrow and hair, so he certainly can ordain the movements of a cardinal. If a cardinal appearing in your yard reminds you of the gift God gave you, allowing you the time you had with your loved one, by all means give thanks to him for it!

When God Sends a Cardinal Bird Feeder Sympathy Gift

This gorgeous cedar wood bird feeder is the perfect sympathy gift for anyone who loves the “When God sends a cardinal” quote. We can use any version of the phrase you prefer – “When cardinals appear, loved ones are near,” and so on.

The feeder is built to last (made in the USA) and features a cardinal art image along with the famous cardinal quote on the front panel. Plus in includes your loved one’s name and dates personalized below an “In Loving Memory” inscription.

You can even add further personalization to the back side panel if you would like. Available at Urns Northwest.

When a Cardinal Appears Memorial Art

Let’s take a look at some of the ways this memorial quote has been presented. Here are six of the most beautiful cardinal quote memorial plaques and art pieces we’ve found.

Plywood planks, printed in lovely colors.

I like this one because the cardinal rests in a thicket of birch trees. Plus it includes a name or initials carved into the tree!

This plaque features an elegant font and minimalist bird and trees.

Here we have a small sign that is hand-painted and features a lovely gray background.

Framed art version with a detailed artistic rendering of the bird.


You can also get this quote engraved onto other products, such as a wooden plaque or a cedar wood bird feeder. Either of the two items below are 100% customizable at no additional charge.

Custom engraved alder wood plaque

Browse custom engraved plaques here.

Personalize yours here.

When a Cardinal Appears Memorial Urns

As mentioned above, the Cardinal Cremation Urn with 3-Dimensional Inlay Art has proven to be a very popular design for families shopping for a cremation urn for their loved ones.

Below, you’ll see our two inlay wood art cremation urns that feature a cardinal. Either design can be engraved with name and dates, and you’ll also have room for a brief quote such as, “When a cardinal appears in your yard, it’s a visitor from heaven,” or “Cardinals appear when angels are near.”

Cardinal Cremation Urn with 3-Dimensional Inlay Art

This urn is shown here with the outer box in Walnut and Oak wood, and can also be made in Maple or Mahogany woods. The inlay of the bird in on an inset panel layered with the bird so that it appears in 3 dimensions. Beautifully crafted in the USA, and available here.

Wood urn inlay
Cardinal Inlay Art Wood Cremation Urn: Walnut
Cardinal Bird Art
Cardinal Inlay Art Wood Cremation Urn: Oak

Cardinal Wood Urn with Inlay Art

The simple maple wood urn features a flat inlay (as opposed to the “3D” design, above) of a cardinal. Made in the USA from premium solid wood, a beautiful memorial tribute to your loved one. Available here.

Maple wood urn with Cardinals inlay

Each of these two wood cremation urns holds a standard 200 cubic inches of cremated remains. Brought to you by Urns Northwest.

Read next: Sympathy Quotes About Cardinals and Loved Ones

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16 thoughts on “When a cardinal appears in your yard, it’s a visitor from heaven

  1. Thank you for letting me add my email. I loved the articles on the Cardinal. God bless you all this holy and beautiful season.

  2. Thank you for the old folk saying i seen one everyday now for at lease 2wks

  3. My daughter died last month. Everyday a redbird comes to my window and just flies in place for a few seconds looking straight at me. Then she flies away taking the same path. I love to think my baby girl comes to see me.I feel better for just a bit after the visit Thank you.

  4. my spouse passed away April 3, 2019 . And my step daughter , February 16 , 2019.

  5. I Seen Three Red Cardinal Today In My My Yard My Brother Die 2017 My Boyfriend Die 2016 And Husband Die 2011 It Was A Blessing To See The Red Birds

  6. May god have a place in heaven for all of you and your departed.

  7. My uncle who passed two years ago today was a wonderful man. I miss him so much. I was tearing up and recalled the saying about cardinals. I checked out my bird feeders. There was a beautiful male cardinal. I smiled then cried. I swear he looked me right in the eye. It was special.

  8. My mom passed I went to her house to pray I seen one

  9. My Mom was at a Hospice House. I had stayed the night with her and woke up to a snowy day. I looked out the window and there it was, a big male cardinal sitting at the bird feeder. He stayed for quite some time, watching me as I watched him, not a flinch as I took pictures of him. It was very peaceful, I felt it was my Dad watching out for me, comforting me during this difficult time.

  10. My husband passed on New Years day 2020 I am very sad can’t get over it. Then my step son in-law ask me if I saw an unussual bird like a cardinal he said that our love ones who passed ressembles a bird. So from that day I always look outside the window if I will see a cardinal and much to my surprised I did see a red bird and every week I see a cardinal I always wait everyday to see the red cardinal and now I know that my husband is looking after me.

  11. My
    Mom passed Nov18 2019, we were very close. I have a cardinal comes every evening to same spot for last two weeks. And other day I had my front door open a cardinal came right to glass door it hovered for a Minute and I went to door there were two cardinals sitting on porch railing.

  12. My mom just passed away this past Monday and my Dad had passed away almost 12 years ago. The day after her passing a Red Cardinal was outside my patio doors looking in while we looked at pictures. I have always associated the Cardinal with my dad. That day it brought me such a sense of peace and confirmed all that I read today on your website. It has come by every day this week and peeks in. I know that he is telling me that all will be okay and he is just waiting for my mom to join him. I have thanked God for sending me that message.

  13. today as of april 20 2020 a red cardinal bird flew on my porch and I look up on what it means it says an angle were near by the only person I can thank of is my dad he pass away 7 years ago December 26 2012 and it hurted me to my heart and I truly feel that he’s in a better place and he’s looking down at me seeing how much I have grown and turn my life to god.

  14. Out of the blue I decided to cut my back yard. When I was done. A Blue Jay landed in my yard and then a Red Cardinal. What a great surprise. These two species together. Blue Bird are out in my back yard all the time. I needed this. I lost my brother in September 2020. One day I went upstairs to my mother’s room. I saw a bird there. I was frightened. I ran and never saw it again. Today we saw a male Sparrow singing his heart out on top of the McDonald’s speaker.. My other brother said he is Praising God Almighty.

  15. I had heard that cardinals were loved ones coming to visit, but when I mentioned it to others they had never heard the saying so I started to not believe. Father has been gone for 23 years and we live in his newly constructed (at the time) house. This morning it was finally warm and the sun was out. I walked outside and a cardinal was on the tree and I watched it for a few minutes. It flew away and landed at the exact spot where we spread his ashes. That cardinal could have flown and landed anywhere in the world, but it chose the exact spot where my father’s ashes were laid.

  16. This weekend my family and I said good-bye to our pet dog of 14 years. It has been a heart wrenching time and yesterday my sister in law asked if I wanted to come over and sit outside and chat for a bit of a distraction. As I was leaving the house I noticed a blue jay on our front deck steps but thought to myself I think it’s cardinals that are signs from heaven and I kid you not, a cardinal appeared that very moment in our front tree, flew from branch to branch for a bit and eventually flew away. It brought me comfort at my time of need for our beloved pet.

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