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How to attract Cardinals to your backyard

Cardinals are the most desired backyard bird in North America.  Here are some tips to get cardinals to come to your backyard. 

  1. Like all other birds, the Cardinal needs water, so make sure to offer water in your backyard.  If you don't have a pond or natural water supply nearby, consider adding a bird bath to your backyard.  When shopping for a bird bath, consider your climate.  If you live in the northern United States, you'll probably want one you can add a heating element to or one that comes with a heater, which you can plug in during the winter months.  Birds need water in the winter too!  Cleaner birds are warmer birds, they fluff there feathers in water even on the coldest days.  Once they shake dry, the clean fluffy feathers insulate better.
  2. Cardinals love sunflower seed and safflower seed, or mixes containing them.  The biggest advantage of a safflower seed mix is that other birds don't like the safflower seed, but with its strong beak, the cardinal has no problem with it.
  3. Feed the cardinals in a platform ground feeder or a fly-through feeder.  Cardinals are larger than songbirds like finches, which perch on tube feeders.  The cardinal needs about two inches from the feeding port to feed.  There are tube feeders which offer perches that will work, but most tube wild bird feeders only have a peg for a perch, which won't work for cardinals. 
  4. Cardinals will often be the first bird at the feeders in the morning and the last wild bird to be feeding at dusk.
  5. Cardinals love to hang out in brushy woodlands, thickets, garden shrubbery and in parks, if you are out bird watching, odds are good, you'll see a cardinal.