Cardinals are the state bird of Illinois, and I watched them every summer growing up in my parents' backyard. The same couple returns since they mate for life, and I love seeing the red feathers flit between the bushes and flowers. The female is always more elusive.
In this illustration, the female cardinal has passed on. She glows as her spirit remains by her partner's side. I've heard cardinals can represent the soul of a loved one returning to visit. Here, she yearns to visit her mate. They are forever together even after death.