Cardinals are beautiful birds to have in your landscapes, especially in the winter time when there is snow around. Their bright red color contrast so nicely with snow. If you would like to see more of Cardinals in your yard, you can attract them with a little effort. Providing food, shelter and water for the Cardinals will make them more likely to visit you at your home.
1 – Make sure Cardinals are native to your area. Northern Cardinals are found in Eastern and Central North America from Southern Canada into parts of Mexico and Central America. Northern Cardinals do not migrate, so they live in the same area/place year-round.
2 – Buy a bird feeder. Cardinals prefer stationary or platform feeders. Make sure the feeder is sturdy enough to hold a Cardinal and that perches are long enough for the Cardinals to fit on them. Cardinals like to have cover around the feeders so place them close to trees or shrubs in case they need to flee or are frightened.
3 – Provide Water. Bird baths are a good option to place a few meters away. Bird baths do take some care to keep them attractive to birds. Clean the bird baths once a week or more often if used heavily. If you live in an area where water freezes in the winter, a heated bird bath would be a good option with your Cardinals.
4 – Make sure there are places for nesting in your landscapes for Cardinals. Cardinals will not nest in nesting boxes, they like natural places. They like thick trees or shrubs where they can nest 3 to 20 feet off the ground. Food and water doesn’t need to be really close to the potential nesting area. How ever it should be relatively close. For example, if you have woods at the back of your house and you’re keeping the food and water at the front of your house, that should be okay.
5 – Watch for Cardinals. Cardinals feed most heavily in the mornings and evenings. Keep track of their daily visits for maximum viewing. Male and Female Cardinals look different. Male Cardinals are bright red overall with a black ring around their beak. Female Cardinals are predominately brown, with bright red bills and a red crest on the top of their heads. Either way, with their beautiful colors they shouldn’t be hard to spot.
6 – Be cautious of predators and chemicals in your yard. Keep household animals away from bird feeders, birdbaths and nesting areas. Be careful when using chemicals such as herbicides, insecticides or fertilizers in the same area. These products can get into the bird feed or into the bird baths and contaminate the feed and water for the birds.
7 – Place sunflower or safflower seeds in your feeders. Cardinals favorites are black sunflower seeds. However, Cardinals also like safflower seeds and white milo. Sunflower seeds can make a mess with the shells as they’re being eaten. If that’s something you are concerned about you can buy the hulled sunflowers seeds. You will need to change these out more often as they will rot a lot faster due to them not having the shell to protect them. Cardinals like large seeds. They will eat smaller seeds if nothing else is available.
8 – Place food on the ground as well. Cardinals are ground feeders. If you have a spot or section in your landscapes or garden away from low growing bushes or shrubs were predators may hide, you can also scatter seed there.
With all these helpful hints and tricks, we hope you enjoy your Cardinals in your Gardens and Landscapes.