When you’re interested in watching the beautiful crimson plumage of the cardinal, bird feeder options may seem confusing. There are any number of feeders available, but when you’ve got a specific type of bird in mind, it’s important to know that the bird you want to attract – the cardinal, in this case – will come to your feeder.
Cardinals, unlike many other birds, like to cluster when feeding. Where many birds will prefer to space themselves out, the cardinal will actively prefer to be closer to its brethren, so you can get a feeder with more feed holes – six or eight is good, but the ideal option is a continuous ring so the birds can perch and feed at any point along the circumference.
While many birds have preferred feeding schedules, and will only arrive at your feeder during certain times of the day, the cardinal will begin visiting in the early morning and continue visiting into the late evening.
A little-known issue with cardinals is that their heads do not turn as far as other birds, so a perch that allows them to face the food source directly is best. Avoid feeders which provide perches that jut out at right angles to the food source; these are more appropriate for other types of birds.
Cardinals are non-migratory. So long as there is sufficient food and shelter in the area, cardinals will remain year-round… so cardinal feeders are a great way to keep these beautiful birds visiting your yard even in the dead of winter.
As with any bird, the cardinal has preferred types of seed. Chief among these is the sunflower; cardinals will pick through seed and eat sunflower seeds first, before any other kind of seed. Other seeds enjoyed by the cardinal include white millet and safflower seeds, but sunflower seeds are always the preferred choice.
Hanging bird feeders, while they will attract cardinals (especially if stocked with sunflower seeds), are less attractive than a pole-mounted feeder which doesn’t sway or tilt with wind or the arrival of other birds. Optimal height from the ground is five to six feet.
Finally, when selecting your feeder, keep in mind that the cardinal will prefer a thicker perch that is easier to grasp. Thin perches geared more toward the smaller songbirds will not be comfortable for the cardinal, and they will be unlikely to remain for long – so a substantial perch is a must, if you want these lovely birds to find your feeder comfortable and inviting.
Both male and female cardinals are vocal about singing their beautiful song, and will do so all year round. This alone makes the cardinal a great bird to attract into your yard and can provide endless hours of enjoyment.
Indeed, the cardinal is the ideal backyard visitor, perfectly willing to visit in groups throughout the year, and happy to provide you with lovely singing at any time. To attract the cardinal, bird feeder selection and placement are simple and effective.