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How To Attract Cardinals To Your Yard (Foolproof Tips)

red cardinal sitting on a fence

Last Updated: May 16, 2022

Who would not be attracted to a vibrant red bird hanging out in their front yard?

Everyone loves to watch a flock of birds feasting in their yard.

So, if you are one of the many bird lovers that want to know how to attract Cardinals, you are in the right place!

Where Can I Find These Cardinals?

Cardinal birds have different species, such as the Northern Cardinal, common in the Eastern United States, south into Mexico, and Central America.

They usually like to hide among thickets.

Therefore, it will be a lot easier for you to attract cardinals into your yard if you live in one of these places in no time.

What’s So Intriguing About Them?

Their Brilliant Colors

One of the few things I noticed about them is you can quickly know their gender just by looking at their feathers. Male cardinals call attention to themselves due to their brilliant red color.

Concurrently, the female has a distinctive warm brown color with red-tinged wings. Both of them have the same black face around their reddish bill.

Male Cardinals Are Hard To Spot

Northern male cardinals are well-known species. However, they are trickier to spot than a female. Male cardinals are also slightly bigger than females, so you can add this to your list on distinguishing their gender.

They feed seeds from their beak to the female’s beak, which is adorable.

Cardinals Love To Sing

Another interesting fact about cardinals is they sing a lot. Female cardinals sing to send a signal to the male if they need food. In comparison, the males sing to either attract other cardinals or ward off intruders. They usually sing 24 songs; however, the males can sing 200 different songs in an hour.

From time to time, males and females alike sing cheerful duets together. No one knows why they sing, but some say that it is some sort of ritual to fortify their relationship, romantic, isn’t it? 

They’re Anything But Aggressive

Cardinals are also known for their non-aggressive personality, for they are shy. They are year-round residents, so if they noticed your yard, they would visit every day all year.

To ensure that these cardinals will find your place captivating, you must know how to their kind pretty well.

How To Attract Cardinals To Your Yard

After reading these exciting facts about cardinals, people would think that attracting cardinals are challenging, but that’s where you’re wrong. Cardinals are relatively easy to please, so it won’t be hard to attract them.

Know Their Favorite Food

One of the few things you need to know about attracting these red birds is to learn the best Cardinal food for them. You have to ask yourself what to feed cardinals to entice them more into hanging out in your yard.

Their beaks are strong, so it’s highly unnecessary to worry about them having a hard time opening seeds.

red cardinal beside a brown bird feeder

If you wonder what to feed cardinals, black-oil sunflower is one of the most widespread cardinal food, meatier than most seeds. It is also famous as the black-oil seeds since they have higher oil content, good for the birds’ health. Their shells are thin, so it would be easier for small cardinals to crack it open.

We also have the striped sunflower seeds; their husk is much more formidable than the black-oil, but it’s among the cardinals’ favorites. These seeds tend to attract larger cardinals due to their larger size. 

Some people might think that it would be difficult for the birds to break these seeds’ husks, but their beaks are much stronger than what you think. 

Maybe you're wondering what do cardinals eat that could provide them nutritional benefits.

You will be in awe to know that they have a penchant for safflower seeds.

Most birds rarely eat this seed, but mixing it with some sunflower seeds does wonders as it gets tastier and more nutritious for these birds.

Get Feeders That Are Specialized For Cardinals

It’s best to invest in Cardinal bird feeders that are made explicitly for pleasing them. Cardinals love large bird feeders; they like something they can stand on while eating. You just have to pay attention to their most preferred cardinal food, so your birdfeeders will be hard, almost unlikely for them to resist.

red and brown birds near bird feeder

You also need to be thoughtfully selective and picky when choosing the kind of feeder that is most suitable for them.

When looking for the best birdfeeder, ask yourself these questions, “What do cardinals eat?” “What feeder type should I use?” These are essential factors to consider when purchasing a birdfeeder.

Cardinals prefer large feeders. Take the tube bird feeder as an example; many people buy this kind of feeder because of its size. It will also be nice to get one with something for the birds to stand or sit on and avoid getting one that comes with a water dispenser.

Install Your Feeders In The Right Place

We all know how birds are attracted to bird feeders. 

But as you already know, cardinals are shy, so they usually prefer places with thickets and plenty of foliage. 

They often pick locations that provide them protection and where there are trees nearby to give them a place to hide from predators.

Install your bird feeders where there will be fewer squirrels that might scare the cardinals or steal their food. You can try re-creating their natural habitat so the cardinals will be more comfortable. 

During winter, they like nesting in twigs, dense shrubs, and vines; they often create big flocks because they incline to be territorial at a time of scarcity. 

Never Leave Your Feeders Empty Day And Night

To attract more cardinals to your yard, you need to make them see that you have food stocks for them. As you already know, cardinals are non-migratory birds, so they stay year-round, and that means we need to maintain our feeders at all times. 

Provide them with the security of having a steady supply of cardinal food.

Once they know that they won’t run out of food in your place, it will make them stay there longer.

Supply Them A Clean Water Source

Birds also need a source of water because they get thirsty too. 

Cardinals like freshwater; they also need to drink in their everyday lives. Give them a birdbath, at least deep enough by one to two inches, so they can play around and will make your yard even more attractive to them. 

Adding a stick and a dripper will also be an excellent idea to entice the cardinals more.

Maintaining a fresh and clean water source is also necessary to avoid mosquitoes and any form of bacteria. Regularly replace their water source from time to time to prevent algae from growing. 

Keep the water warm, especially during winter, to avoid frozen water; everyone loves a warm bath during winter, right? The same goes for the cardinals. Heated birdbaths are required for cardinals so they won’t be cold or freezing.

Promote Ground-Feeding

cardinal with red-crest and white torso

An ordinary feeder would not be ideal for our medium-sized cardinals.

Leaving cardinal food on the ground for several days would attract more cardinals to visit. Avoid leaving seeds on an open area, considering that they are quite shy. Instead of open spaces, try the area near the bushes and shrubs to make them feel safe.

Ensure that the area you’re leaving some cardinal food is not prone to squirrels or your pets. These birds are shy, which is one of the primary reasons you should refrain household pets from going to their place. 

The cardinals will be startled and fly away if they encounter someone or something unfamiliar with them.

Remove Reflective Surfaces

Being territorial is in the cardinals’ nature, and they would attack any unwelcome intruders.

Unfortunately, they attack their reflections too. Attacking mirrors or any reflective surfaces would cause damage to their beaks or cause any unnecessary stress. 

To avoid this kind of situation, you need to cover anything that reflects, including car mirrors and windows.

You can cover these up using plastic bags and nettings on windows.

Keep Your Feeders Clean

Just like their water source, we need to maintain their feeders clean too. Keeping these clean means avoiding avian diseases or any bacteria.

Clean your feeders every two to three weeks to avoid any bacteria. You can wash them with gentle soap and water, ensuring to wash the birdfeeder thoroughly, so it doesn’t smell like soap. 

You would need to empty these feeders for a few days; try not to let the cardinals wait for too long, though. Try ground-feeding while you’re letting those clean feeders dry. Here's how to properly clean your bird feeders:

In Conclusion

Attracting cardinals can be kind of tricky; however, you can do it right if you know the essential details about them–their living habits and their preferences. Understanding their way of living is a necessity to make your yard a haven for them. 

Once you learn more about their behavior, the more chances you will have in effortlessly attracting them into your yard, and maybe they will opt to stay there for good–especially if you get a few of the best Cardinal bird houses.

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