Having gorgeous birds in your yard, chirping, and singing is always an exquisite sight. Amidst these birds, cardinals always stand out due to their vibrant red hues and delightful melody. Their male species is often recognized instantly due to their scarlet color, while the females have comparatively tan feathers and orange beak. Since these are non-migratory birds, you can easily find them in your backyard, even in winters. Named after the Catholic bishops, these birds are a symbol of courage and confidence as well as utter beauty.
One cannot simply take one’s eyes off these birds. They usually move around in flocks and have the most beautiful melodies. Females sing to let the male know that they need food. On the other hand, males usually sing to attract a mate. These birds are omnivores meaning that they eat insects, grains, and fruits. They are traditionally one mile away from their birthplace and can be found in dense shrubby areas. You can look for them in the forest, fields, and even in your backyard.
14 Tips for Attracting Cardinals to Your Yard
Your backyard would be a treat to the eyes if it had red birds singing and hovering around playfully. Many people find it difficult to attract red birds to their backyard, but it is no rocket science. You need to follow a few simple steps, have some alteration in your courtyard, and then it will be a home for these melodious birds.
1 – Feed Cardinals Near Trees for Protection
Cardinals are shy birds and don’t prefer to be in areas where they do not feel safe. They will seemingly avoid open spaces where they feel threatened. If you have the bird feeder in any such site, there is a low chance that you will have these beautiful birds as visitors in your garden. It would help if you placed the bird feeders near the trees. The reason is that trees are broad and give shelter as well as protection. It will be easier for these birds to hide from the predators and make sure if it is safe to come out or not. Don’t place just one feeder; add multiple of them and give these birds places to hide. They will feel safe near a tree and therefore will not hesitate to visit your backyard at all.
2 – Use a Medium-Sized Bird Feeder
First of all, you need to be aware that feathered birds will not simply feed off any bird feeder. In fact, they will require bird feeders of their own. Since they are medium-sized birds, they do not prefer to feed off small bird feeders. Therefore you will need a medium-sized bird feeder at least to attract them. Do not use lightweight feeders because these birds are heavy, and the feeders will tend to sway due to their weight. A hopper is a preferable choice since they feel most comfortable in it. Make sure your feeder has enough space for the cardinal to feed in easily.
3 – Cardinals Like These Nuts and Seeds
Redbirds are not picky when it comes to their eating habits. They are voracious eaters, and sunflower seeds happen to be their favorite. You can have an idea about the kind of nuts and seeds they would prefer from the shape of their beaks. Their beak is strong and sharp with a downward curve, making it easier for them to crack open the seeds. They can also eat bigger seeds because they have large jaw muscles. When attracting these birds, use crushed peanuts, corn, and many other medium-sized seeds. They also prefer to eat mealworms, safflower, striped sunflower, and sunflower chips. You can also try a blend of safflower and sunflower seeds to attract these birds.
4 – Add These Fruits and Berries To The Menu
An interesting fact about red birds is that they also eat fruits and berries. You can feed them fresh berries and chunks of apples along with blueberry, mulberry, and many other dark-hued berries. They also like to eat grapes and fruits which have larger seeds. Since they are omnivores, they adapt according to the situation and the weather. They prefer to eat every kind of food, whether it be insects, fruits, or seeds. Hence it would be best if you had a large menu for these little ones.
5 – Provide a Bird House or Two
It will be safe if you provide your little visitors with a couple of birdhouses. This will make your backyard familiar to them, and they will visit it more often. Provide a birdhouse with beautiful colors and enough space for them to fit it. Moreover, place these birdhouses near the trees so that these feathered birds would feel safe to be around them.
6 – Eliminate Reflective Surfaces
You need to be aware that cardinals are extremely protective when it comes to their homes. They are shy birds indeed. But they are also very private regarding their nests. They do not fancy people close to their territory. They are protective because they would even attack their own reflection if they feel threatened by it. Therefore, it is advised to not have any shiny and reflective surfaces in your backyard, especially mirrors. Otherwise, these birds will indulge in a useless and meaningless fight with their own reflection, which frequently will last for days and cause beak damage.
7 – Give The Cardinals Nesting Materials
It is not a difficult task to provide these birds with some nesting material. All you have to do is have an empty suet feeder and place some pet fur, yarn, and other materials. These feathered prefer dense and hidden spots for nesting. Their nests are usually four to five feet above the ground. So it is recommended to have trees and thick bushes in your yard where these birds can make a home for themselves.
8 – Provide A Space For Ground Feeding
It is a good idea to encourage ground-feeding among your cardinals because it will give them a sense of security. Since these birds are shy and protective, they will need protection to feel comfortable at places they are feeding. If you leave seeds on the ground for them to feed, it will allow the birds to be familiar with your backyard. This will make them feel secure and visit more often.
During migration season, add extra handfuls of sunflower seeds to help them complete their long journey.
9 – Find A Pet-Free Space for Feeding Birds
As mentioned above, red birds are shy, and they do not prefer the company of other animals. A very slight movement can scare them off. In terms of feeding these birds, you need to be careful not to provide them in places where your pets move around. Have their feeders in areas where there are no pets. Any sign of movement or the presence of another being would scare off these little creatures. It is also advised not to have seeds scattered near bushes because this is also a place for predators to hide.
10 – Clean the Feeders and Sanitize with White Vinegar for Birds Health
Cardinals are wild birds who like to be fed on reliable resources. However, these resources must be kept clean and free of bacteria not to give rise to any bird disease. Cleaning and sanitizing your bird feeder is essential because these little creatures don’t like to feed on dirty and mossy places. Usually, when these bird feeders are not cleaned, they are accumulated with mold and mildew. To ensure that your bird feeder is clean and free of any collected material, wash it with white vinegar. It will kill all the germs and bacteria, ensuring that the bird’s health is in safe hands.
11 – Keep Feeding Locations Well Stocked
Do not be one of those people who fill their bird feeder once a week and then forget to fill it afterward. Wild birds like these are attracted to well-stocked feeding sources. They like to go to places where they are sure their food is waiting for them. Also, since they do not migrate, it means that they will be around in winters as well. Therefore, to attract these beautiful birds, you need to keep the feed locations full at all times and in all weather conditions.
12 – Set Up A Bird Bath
One of the best ways to attract cardinals to your backyard is to provide them with a water source. People often tend to ignore this part, but just like other birds, these birds get thirsty. Hence naturally, they prefer any place with water. Have slightly deeper bird baths for these feathered birds because of their size. They love to take baths and rest in the water, so it will be an excellent choice to set up a birdbath.
13 – Invest in a Heated Watering Location for Winter
Not only will the birdbath add as a decorative piece for your backyard, but also it will provide safety and comfort to the cardinals. In winter, you will need to invest in a heated birdbath. This is not difficult because electric and solar-powered bird bath heaters are available both in the market and online.
14 – Be Quiet and Still While Birdwatching
Indeed having melodious red birds in your backyard singing and playing is a beautiful and fun sight, but you have to be careful about not making any noise. Since, as mentioned above, cardinals tend to feel unsafe in the presence of other beings, so if you make any unnecessary movements and noise, you will scare these birds off.
Having delightful birds bless your backyard with their visit is not a difficult task anymore. All you have to do is be careful about the food they prefer and the location which they prefer to be in. Then, make them feel safe and give them their desired environment by following the above-mentioned proven tips of attracting cardinals. Eventually, the melodies of these beautiful birds will be echoing in your garden.
Content last updated 07.09.2021