When God Sends A Cardinal: Red Cardinal Spiritual Meaning

There is an old folklore saying that, “When God sends a cardinal, it’s a visitor from heaven.” Because of this saying, some wonder if the appearance of a Red Cardinal in their yard could really mean something special. 

Depending on people’s different cultures, backgrounds, or beliefs, they attribute different meanings to the appearance of these lovely birds.

Some consider the red cardinal meaning that their loved one is near in spirit, like a spiritual messenger of sorts. Others see cardinals as symbols of hope in tough times. There is even a common belief that they bring good fortune. 

While there are many different interpretations of what their presence may mean, the fact that cardinals carry significant symbolic value is certain.

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

Red Cardinal Meaning

What do cardinals represent? Cardinals are beautiful birds that represent devotion, monogamy, and loving relationships.

In connection with departed loved ones, the presence of a cardinal signifies beauty in the midst of darkness, hope in the midst of sorrow, and renewal in the midst of winter.

Whether cardinal symbolism came from the folk proverb, or the proverb came from the traditional symbolism, many people are reminded of the presence of a departed loved one or family member when a Red Cardinal visits their yard.

This may also be the reason why the lovely Cardinal Cremation Urn with Wood Inlay Art has been one of our most popular memorial urns for years.

When God Sends a Cardinal Quotes

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

“Cardinals appear when angels are near.”

The quote below appears to have come from a poem and blog post by Victoria McGovern. 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.
  • When a cardinal appears in your yard, it’s a visitor from heaven.

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 should we have to wonder about the meaning of beautiful red birds flitting by our windows 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 through the beauty of nature. God is in charge of every sparrow and every hair on our heads, so He certainly can ordain the movements of a cardinal.

So if the appearance of a cardinal in your yard reminds you of the gift God gave you, allowing you to recall the time you had with your loved one, by all means give thanks to Him for it!

When a Cardinal Appears Memorial Art

Let’s take a look at some of the different ways the memorial quotes based on this popular belief have been utilized. Here are six of the most beautiful cardinal quote memorial plaques and art pieces we’ve found.

When God Sends a Cardinal Bird Feeder Sympathy Gift

This gorgeous Cedar wood bird feeder is the perfect sympathy gift for anyone who is a bird enthusiast, or simply loves the positive message of a cardinal sighting. We can use any version of the quote you prefer — “When cardinals appear, loved ones are near,” and so on.

These bird feeders are built to last for a very long time (made in the USA), and feature a cardinal art image along with the quote on the front panel. Plus, it includes your loved one’s name and dates personalized below an “In Loving Memory” inscription.

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

Cardinal Pair Tin Sign

This pretty tin sign features one of the most common variations of the cardinal quote. The beautiful Red Cardinal bird and its mate are front and center, and we love the elegant font they picked for the lettering. 

Wood Panel Wall Hanging

This is a lovely wooden wall hanging. I like this one because the cardinal’s bright red color looks so pretty against the thicket of birch trees. Plus, you can have your loved one’s initials carved into the tree!

Framed Watercolor Print

This lovely, hand crafted wall art piece is so elegant. The bright red cardinal has a watercolor feeling to it, and the hand lettering is so pretty. The frame is available in five different finishes, and the piece itself is available in three sizes.

Poem Scroll

This canvas banner features a much longer message of comfort and will be a special reminder each time they see it, especially during difficult times. The next time a cardinal lands in their yard, they’ll think of this inspiring passage and the meaning of the Red Cardinal.

Mod-Podge Wall Hanging

This mod-podge, craftsy style sign is so sweet! The vibrant red feathers of the cardinal stand out against the neutral beige of the background, and the cute twine hanger gives it a bit of a rustic feel. 

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 one.

Below, you’ll see our two inlay wood art cremation urns that feature a cardinal. Either design can be engraved with their loved one’s 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 cardinal with its bright red feathers and distinctive crest sit on a raised panel so that it appears 3-dimensional. 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

The cardinal bird meaning of comforting presence is one of the reasons these urns are some of the most popular of all time.

Wood Urn with Cardinal Inlay Art

This simple maple wood urn features a flat inlay (as opposed to the “3D” design, above) of a cardinal. Made in the USA from premium hardwoods, these urns are 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 (the equivalent of 200 lbs) of cremated remains. Brought to you by Urns Northwest.

Read next: Sympathy Quotes About Cardinals and Loved Ones

Cardinals appear when angels are near

49 thoughts on “When God Sends A Cardinal: Red Cardinal Spiritual Meaning”

  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. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. My daughter died on May 21 , 2020. I saw red cardinals in my yard. I had prayed that she would bidirectional as a cardinal she came today. I miss her soooooo much.


  14. My beautiful doggie Romeo passed away August 16, 2019. It is now August 17, 2020. Yesterday was one year he has been gone, such a sad day for me. This morning I got out of my car, and there was a cardinal on the lawn right in front of me. I never ever saw a cardinal here before. Such a beautiful bird. I believe it was Romeo telling me he was close by and watching over me. I miss him so much, but this brought me comfort. I love you always Romeo.

  15. Today as I was looking out of my kitchen window, 2 Cardinals flew into my view and sat in our little garden box. We always have Cardinals visit us often near our home and I know it’s my Grandmother saying hello. Well, today a pair came by about the same time my Uncle passed away. I knew it was my Grandmother bringing my Uncle to say his final goodbye.

  16. My husband of 49 years (would be 50 this Dec 3rd) passed away just yesterday, My daughter and son came from out of town and are staying with me. I went to bed earlier than usual and they were outside the house. My daughter noticed a male cardinal sitting on a branch right next to the house on the side where our bedroom is. She thought it was a fake bird we had put there because it didn’t flinch or move away as she and her brother walked closer to it. They decided it was fake. This she asked if we had put a fake Cardinal there. I said no, why? She told me what they had seen and that there is that belief. She went outside and it was gone, so she knew it was a real bird. The this afternoon I was resting in my bedroom and she went to look and it was back in the same spot! She had me come and look and it was still there. I spoke a few words to it as if speaking to my husband and turned to leave and it fluttered away. I had not herd the story before, but it sure has me wondering now. I had ask him to give me a sign. So, May be.

  17. My Father passed away, The following Sunday I was sitting in my car at the park taking a phone call, this little red bird landed on the sign in front of my car.
    He immediately got my attention! He flooded around and then flew directly over to my car windshield!!
    Hovering looking directly at me! Long enough that I was able to take a picture of this adorable little bird looking right at me through my car windshield!
    This little Redbird interacted with me for over an hour and 20 minutes, I took several videos and pics of this Special little bird coming over I am being persistent to have my attention.
    I was only seven days into the grieving process and this little red bird blessed me with so much peace, joy and comfort.
    I went back the next morning, and it was not the same time of day, I seen it the previous day.
    Soon as I pulled into the park parking lot.. I gazed over to a tree and immediately the little red bird reappeared!!
    I have no doubt this was my father coming to me to let me know that he is still here protecting me.

  18. My Dad gained his “angel-versary” on November 16, 2019… and this little messenger of peace returned to us several times throughout 2020, specifically on Father’s Day, again on November 23 (the day we flew Dad home), and finally on Thanksgiving. If I wasn’t convinced before, I certainly am now. Happy New Year!

  19. Good Evening,
    I seen a *Red Cardinal* in my back yard this afternoon tried to get a quick picture of it but it was too late….My mom passed away October 29, 2016, her birthday was January 14th she would of been 75 years old. My step dad passed away on her birthday in 2015 and their wedding anniversary was also on her birthday which would of been their 6 year wedding anniversary.
    After reading several articles, I’m more certain than ever that my mom came back to visit me and to let me know that everything was going to be alright and that *This Too Shall Pass* and to continue keeping my head held up and high and praying to God Almighty for guidance.

  20. A little red bird sleep every night in a tree at the yard of my house…for almost 6 or 7 months…what does it mean?

  21. I am praying for you guys and I am so sad but happy because my 8-year-old daughter passed away and I seen the red bird and then my eight year old daughter came back my five year old son said that she was back and I was so happy

  22. Everyday when I go outside my back door to smoke red birds appear. My mom passed May 3, 2020. I speak to her her every day. Asking for her guidance to continue in my life.

  23. My mom passsed away on Easter Sunday 2021. We laid her to rest yesterday April 14 2021. After we left her final resting place, people came to house for a little gathering. It was a nice sunny but chilly day in New York, we were sitting outside and a cardinal just flying one tree to the other in our yard.

  24. @jane – Sounds like it’s time to create a new tradition! What’s your favorite bird that you see regularly, but not **too* often? I’d start there.

  25. Cardinals appear when angels are near.
    So go now and sit outside and drink your tea.
    Keep a look out for the little red bird-
    It is there that your loved one will be.

  26. My mother passed away on March 6th 2021 , I was not able to be with her when she crossed over but said my goodbye’s over video with my brother and two sisters there with her. I’m the baby of my siblings and I took it especially hard on myself that I wasn’t there. Every day since she’s passed and we park our car in this specific place, my boyfriend have seen a cardinal everytime we’re there and it usually stays until we leave. He keeps telling me that it’s my mother visiting us, checking on me and whatnot and I’m not saying that I didn’t believe him but reading all the comments make me believe indefinitely. It’s comforting to know that she chooses me to visit everyday especially because she was over 1300 miles away from me when she departed. I love you momma and miss you even more. Xoxo

  27. This morning, I was out on my front porch. I had done my Bible study and was praying, trying to seek God, and asking Him to help me weather the storms of emotion and internal healing, for the ability to be obedient and to live a life of boldness. A cardinal landed on my porch rail, cheeping loudly. He was very close to me and he kept cheeping for a few minutes. It was so weird, that I decided to Google. I guess it was God’s way of telling me to not be afraid and that He loves me.

  28. Sorry but there is zero biblical backing to show that our loved ones come back in any form to be by us, much less that cardinals are them

  29. Many of the people in my family have graduated to heaven. I see many Red Cardinals in my yard almost every day. They are a delight to see. They are such a vibrant red color. Seeing the Cardinals brings back memories of my family members who have passed on.

  30. The most common interpretation of a cardinal is a message from a departed loved one. Whenever you see one, it signifies that they are visiting you. They generally appear when you need or miss them the most. They also come through moments of joy and sorrow to let you know they will always be there for you. Besides, a cardinal can convey other meanings, such as love, truthfulness, and good fortune.

  31. The most important bluebird symbolism is linked to the color of their feathers. Blue is the color that represents peace, contentment, purity, honesty, and innocence.

  32. My dad passed and I’ve been going home to help my mom. 2 red birds made a nest right beside my moms steps and had babies right where my mom sits. The male even sits on a wind chime my dad fixed and i had to redo. What a nice sight to see and hear my mom talk about it amen

  33. I lost my wife on 8-30-22, I am dying inside, she was 59. Saturday afternoon 10-29-22, there was a cardinal sitting on the pool deck looking at me and chirping, I have been begging her for a sign, I visit her grave everyday and ask her for something, She delivered!!! THANK YOU HONEY!!!

  34. My husband passed away on January 25, 2021, I keep asking him to give me a signal that he’s there with me and today I saw 2 red Cardinalds on the fence on the back yard.

  35. I was not aware of any significance people had with cardinals but my beloved Grandpa had told me that what he remembered of his own Grandpas funeral (which they borrowed a car to attend vs. their own horse and buggy) was a cardinal on outside the window when he was 7. His Grandpa had fought in 11 Civil War battles and the war had been hard on him understandably.
    The day I pulled up to say my last goodbye for now to this precious man I was praying before I went inside. I sat speechless for half an hour watching the most beautiful red bird in front of me, that had likely entertained him outside his window there prior. God Himself flooded me with peace and assurance that I would see him again once he departed because he had put his trust in the RED BLOOD of Jesus that was spilled at the cross to pay for the sins of anyone who receives. 2 Peter 3:9 For it is His desire that none should perish. But that all would come to saving faith through Christ Jesus our Lord.
    I had NO idea God has comforted others with this throughout all of time! WHAT a personal God!!! What a tender loving Savior.
    And He is just waiting to save any who put their trust in HIM for salvation. So thankful for the Bible where we can know Him and His will for our lives!!! HE is everything.

  36. I started seing cardinals in my backyard on the trees. For the first time my eyes got big I had never seen such beautiful long feathered birds. I was sitting on my bed watching through the window to my backyard and saw a white ,red, and blue one. In my mind I never heard of cardinals. Funny enough I thought of Angela I saw them around for a while and I told my boyfriend about them because I have never seen birds with long feathers these beautiful. I have lost my parents and brothers. It just dawned on me these was a sign of visitation now I get it. Waoh God’s ways are amazing. I hope to see them back again. Amen.

  37. I have been praying and praying for a sign from God to let me know he is with me with my deadly physical diagnosis and everything will turn out OK. Then I saw a red cardinal outside my front door a couple days ago and two days ago I saw a male and two females outside my back door today ! Good news or not?

  38. My Mom died 3/19/23. My sister’s friend sent her a hand drawn card with a red Cardinal. She left it at the funeral home and all cards/memorials were given to me. My sister had never heard that some people believe seeing a cardinal is a sign that your loved one is at peace and will always be near you. Last night I gave her the card! She told me the day we celebrated Mom’s life she and the friend were standing together and a cardinal flew near them. She was happy she had not seen the card and didn’t know about the symbolism because on that day it would have been almost unbearable. Coincidence?

  39. I have been seen two cardinals birds lately a male and female either on top tree in My back yard or on a table in my back patio which is near my dinning room . When I see them I think of my Mom & youner sister who both passed in june 2010 and my Father who passed in November 9th 2022.
    I see them almost everyday for the last 2 weeks . So I now feed them bird seed and water on top of my patio chair and when I eat breakfast in the weekend They come and eat too and sometimes I see them at dinner time or as soon as I come home I hear them and I sit and watch them eat thru my dinning room window. I take videos a d pictures of them . They make me feel happy when they come and visit me. Wish I could post a picture of them here .

  40. My husband passed away 7/30/2019. Tonite I saw a red cardinal on a chair by my door l have been looking for a sign from him he didn’t stay long but I’m thinking it was from him

  41. El dia 7-7-23 despertamos con un cardenal rojo desplumado adentro de mi casa. Le faltaban tantas plumas que no podia volar. Decidimos dejarlo en la casa para que se recupere y esperaba a mi padre para darle la sorpresa. Él era amante a los pajaritos y siempre tuvo cotorras, periquitos y palomas. Toda mi vida viví rodeada de pajaros porque mi padre siempre criaba pajaritos. Esperaba a mi padre con ansias para mostrarle el cardinal rojo que llegó a casa y no entendiamos nada, ni como entró ni como llegó, ni porque estaba desplumado si no apareció ni una de sus Plumas caídas ni adentro, ni afuera de la casa. Mi padre nos visitaba todos los domingos. No sabía sobre la espiritualidad de los cardinales rojos. Ese domingo nunca llegó, el 9 de Julio 2023 me dieron la mala noticia de su muerte. El cardinal nos dió fortaleza, resignación y la seguridad de que existe un mundo espiritual que no comprendemos. Todavía el cardinal rojo está en mi casa, cuando crezcan sus plumas y pueda volver a volar pienso liberarlo.

  42. Before my sister’s passed away one in April 2022 and one November of 2022, before then I did not believe in signs, My sister was a pastor of her church, I was speaking with one of her members whose mother was listening to our converecition, I mentioned to her about seeing Cardinals, her mother told me they were signs of a love visiting, it seem it was the same one everytime, then one day I stated seeing two of them, mother told me theh where bring me a message, then my 2nd sister passed away, mother said it was a sign from one sister coming fir the 2nd sister, both of my Sisters were very religious, I cryed for weeks and still do, mother told me the both are together now and at peace, both birds are now looking after their Baby Sister, until we all are together again. There were 8 of us kids, they all are now in heaven with my Mom and Dad and now is see and have red birds on the backyard all the time, mother saids I’m so blessed to have so many love ones in heaven looking out for me, this past Spring a red bird build a nest outside my bedroom window, I sleep with my window up at night, it would wake me up between 5:30-6:00 every morning and I whisper (good morning family 🙂)and smile. I now feed the birds everyday(they sure eat a lot😅. I’m so glad the mother of our church told me about the signs. They sing so beautifully. Thank God for bringing them into my life.
    I miss my family so much, but I know some day I will see them all again, we all will walk around heaven together.

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