The female Northern Cardinal does most of the nest building, although the male will sometimes bring her building material. She crushes twigs with her beak until they are malleable, turns in the nest to bend them around her body, finally pushing them with her feet into a cup shape. The nest has four layers with the coarse twigs being the foundation. The following layer is a mat of leaves with grapevine bark being the third layer. The final layer is made up of grasses, stems and pine needles.