You can’t miss the sight of a male red cardinal flying through your yard. This is one of the most colorful songbirds you can attract.
Even the female, which is a more muted brown with red accents, is stunning with her distinct crest and bright orange bill. Not everyone can attract cardinals—their range is mostly the Eastern half of the United States. However, if you are in cardinal territory, there are some tricks you can try to increase your chance of attracting this popular bird. Take a look!
Offer Their Favorite Seed
Black oil sunflower seed is probably the most popular bird seed on the market today, and it’s definitely the favorite for cardinals. You might even come across some seed mixes that are specifically made for cardinals, and they are pretty much guaranteed to have black oil sunflower in them.
In addition, try to offer this seed in a platform feeder or a tube feeder that has protection or cover. This is appealing to cardinals, and it will also keep the seed good for a longer period of time.
See also: 10 Best Foods for Bird Feeding
Place Your Bird Feeder in a Protected Area
Birds feel more protected when there is cover around. If you’re putting out a feeder in hopes of attracting cardinals, don’t put it in a wide-open area. Instead, hang it near shrubs, trees, or even other bird feeding items. This will make the cardinals feel like it’s a more secure area.
As a bonus, male and female cardinals will often travel and stick together during nesting season and sometimes throughout the year. It’s a good challenge to attract both a male and female cardinal at the same time.
Try Safflower Seed and Suet
Along with black-oil sunflower seed, you can try offering safflower seed—another favorite for cardinals. They will also stop by your yard for suet. This is especially true during winter when birds are looking for all types of food sources to keep them healthy and strong.
To create a true trifecta, put out black-oil sunflower seed, safflower, and suet. This will give you the best chance of attracting cardinals with food.
Try Offering a Ground Feeder
If you’ve watched cardinal behavior, then you probably already know that you often see them on the ground foraging. To give them a place to eat low to the ground, try a simple tray or hopper feeder. You will have to watch for squirrels with these types of feeders, but if they aren’t a big problem in your area, give it a try.
It’s really fun to see what birds come to your hopper feeder for food. You might even place it under your regular feeders to catch the extra as it falls.
Put Out a Birdbath
All birds are more likely to visit your yard if you provide water along with food. Place a birdbath near your feeders and among protective elements and shelter. This will definitely be more appealing to cardinals.
Add Shrubs and Trees that Double as a Food Source
In addition to offering seeds, you can make your yard even more appealing to cardinals by planting shrubs and trees that bear fruit. There are so many good ones to choose from, including dogwood, serviceberry, hawthorn, and winterberry. By planting shrubs and trees in your backyard, you’re offering birds good protection, and it’s even better if there are berries to eat as well.
Speaking of offering shelter, one of the best ways to do this is to plant evergreens. This includes both shrubs and trees. Evergreens get their name in part because they are green pretty much year-round. This is great for you—it’s beautiful for your landscape.
It’s also good for birds because evergreens will offer nesting spots in spring and summer. Plus, they give good protection from the weather in fall and winter.
You can never go wrong by adding evergreens to your yard. If you have the space, definitely do some research to find out which will be best for your area.
Create a Butterfly-Friendly Backyard
By creating a butterfly-friendly yard, you’re naturally making a wildlife-friendly yard. Plants that are good for butterflies will attract caterpillars and other bugs. In turn, birds will use these as a good food source for their babies.
Now that you know how to make your backyard more appealing to cardinals, it’s time to put your plan into action. Get some black-oil sunflower seed to start, and then start planning your next plants for birdscaping!