12 Tips on How to Attract Cardinals to Your Yard (2021)

Tori Rhodes
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Use Cardinal Specific Feeders

The best way to attract Cardinals to your yard to is to stock the feeder with food they love. Cardinals are mostly seed eaters and feed on the ground under the cover of the shrubs and trees.

Therefore, it is good to introduce an attractive feeder that will bring them close to your yard.

Also, try to use a bird feeder that easily attracts cardinals.

To make the bird feeder more attractive, make sure to stock it with different kinds of feed. Cardinals enjoy eating sunflower seed, thistle seed, and suet.

Using different kinds of seed in your feeder will attract a wider variety.

Tempt With Right Treats

Hanging suet baskets, housing a variety of seeds and nuts, is one great way to attract a variety of birds, including Red-taileds, in your yard.

You can always just take out the bird feeders and put them back the next year if they weren’t needed, but using a suet mixture to attract the birds will ensure you do not have problems with bugs.

The hot weather and lack of food drives the squirrels and woodpeckers into the house, and a lot of them cannot survive when there are no insects and seeds to eat.

It just helps them to stay healthier and better looking because they can find different food sources. You will feel really good to see the birds once you do that, and you will want to keep them coming back every year as they avoid predators and find new feeding grounds by making these simple changes to your habitat.

Place Feeder to The Right Location

It is very important to place the bird feeder in a location that is convenient for the cardinals to consume the bird seed.

Cardinals are omnivorous, and so they will enjoy eating various types of bird seed eat. Try to place the bird feeder in a location which the cardinals are used to.

One of the most important factors is the location of the sun. Choose a spot where the sun is hit directly in the morning.

This means that the bird feeder should be placed in a location where the cardinals can sit comfortably. If you place the bird feeder to the south or south east, the cardinals will certainly be happier than if the cardinal feeder is placed on the north and the north east side.

Sunday till Wednesday are good times to place the feeder out. Mondays and Tuesdays are great because no one is at home on those days.

Place the feeder so that the cardinals can feed from all directions. Place the feeder in a location that is spacious, and away from features that can interfere with the song of the birds.

Cardinals are small birds, and they can comfortably sit in a space up to 30 square feet. The cardinal feeder should be placed in the southwest, northwest, northeast, southeast, east, or in the center of your front yard.

Offer a Water Source (Preferably Moving)

While cardinals will make do with drips, they really prefer a bit of splash. A birdbath, pond, pondless water feature with a fountain, or a drip shelled feeder all make a great addition to your cardinal-friendly yard.

Note: If you think you’d prefer to keep your yard tidy and your watering to a minimum. With an elevated bird feeder you can truly add a splash of excitement into your cardinals life and you won’t have to worry about filling your birdbath every day.

Keep Your Feeders Full at All Times

It’s admirable to want to feed all of the birds in your yard, but that’s likely to be too much for all but the most spacious of yards. It’s a good idea to focus your feedings on the birds you particularly want or would benefit from a regular supply of food — for example, a backyard or community “feed the birds” type water or a seasonal backyard fruit tree.

Even so, you want to have enough fruit, nuts, or seeds to keep the feeder full at all times. That will encourage the birds to get a good start on every day and keep them there for as long as they can.

Overcrowding your feeder could mean that the food runs out too quickly, the feeder tips over, or the birds waste a lot of energy fighting over remaining food. It can also mean that you have to visit the feeder more often to distribute food when they run out. Aim for a full feeder at all times.

Encourage Ground-Feeding for Variety & Security

According to Matthew Dodder, a Certified Wildlife Biologist at Kentucky’s Bellarmine University, in an article for the Kentucky Enviro-Media Service, there are two ways you can encourage your special visitors to forage in your yard or garden:

Diverse feeders are the best. “We’re definitely looking for a variety, especially in the winter,” states Dodder. “Everyone loves sunflower seed, but variety is key. That’s why it’s a good idea to have both suet and seed-only feeders. We also like to make sure we have a [feeder] with fruit and a [feeder] with peanut feed in the winter to give the birds a variety.”

Offer Protective Shelter

Most people know that birds will use man-made structures to build their nests. But you might not know is that wind and snow can still tear and destroy a bird’s nest. Even if it is built out of sturdy twigs.

So just sticking twigs together doesn’t make a good bird’s nest. It’s the holes in the twigs that really make it protective.

Holes in the twigs let air flow between the twigs. This ventilation system make it much more weather proof.

Buildings are particularly great for protection, both from the weather and from predators. The air flow created by the holes in the pipe is similar to the weather proofing effect of holes in twigs.

So make sure you offer the birds in your yard some ventilation for their protection from the elements, and from predators.

Provide Nesting Material

Cardinal nest sites can be grouped into two categories: cavities and exposed locations. Cavity nesters use holes in trees, buildings and cliffs to place their nests. However, cardinals can also build their nests on exposed branches, which do not necessarily require any kind of special preparation.

Regardless of their preferred nest location, cardinals use plant material to make their nests. It is therefore important to maintain a consistent supply of nesting material to help cardinals build their nests.

Prevent Frozen Water

Birds get the water they need in two ways, firstly from drinking. Birds such as the hummingbird will be seen hovering and dipping their beaks into flowering plants. They also drink straight from the water when it is contained in shallow bowls, bird baths, fountains and ponds..

Birds can also get water from their food. Great care should be taken to make sure that in areas where birds congregate, there is enough water for drinking.

Remove Reflective Surfaces

Since the reflection of the sun in the house will confuse the redbird, they stay away from it. So remove safe shiny surfaces in and around your home.

This is really important at the middle of the day, when redbirds are nesting and raising their young. So if you are planning to add a pool or install windows to your house, make sure they are not visually confusing.

Avoid Predator-Accessible Feeding Areas

While it may be a good idea to provide some food in plain sight to sell your yard as a great place to live, this might also be giving away a clue to hungry cats, raccoons, or deer.

On the other hand, it is also a good idea to provide food in hidden spots or close to other places where you have bird housing. That way, you ensure the safety of the food without it being too visible to predators.

Keep the Feeders Clean

After a while, you’ll notice that the cardinals don’t hang out at the feeder any longer. This is because their feet can become stuck in the seed and their beaks can become contaminated with mold, fungus and bacteria. They wash it all off in a nearby source of water.

If you see birdhouses or fountains in the cardinals’ habitat, they will absolutely love to spend time in these to clean up. In order to let the cardinals have a natural place to clean themselves, consider adding a birdhouse to your yard.

After each cleaning of the feeder, you should rinse the feeder, and any loose metal parts in hot water and a mild bleach solution.