How To Attract Cardinals (12 Easy Tips)

The Cardinals are perhaps the most popular backyard bird for most people. The eastern half of the United States, as well as sections of Canada and Mexico, are home to the Northern Cardinal year-round.

On gray winter days, they add a burst of color to the landscape, and in the spring, they bring joy with their songs. You’ve come to the right place if you want to learn how to entice cardinals to your yard.

Fortunately, since cardinals are attracted to bird feeders, attracting them isn’t too difficult. However, there are a variety of things you can do to make your yard an even more appealing habitat for them. Maybe they’ll decide to stay and breed. In this article, we’re going to talk about that.


We compiled a list of cardinal attraction tips as well as cardinal habitat tips, which we’ll share with you.


Cardinals will, of course, try to eat from all types of seed feeders. They do, however, have favorites. Balancing on tiny, narrow perches of tube feeders may be difficult due to their somewhat bigger size. Cardinals favor maneuvering in a room.

The cardinals prefer platform feeders. It’s an open platform that replicates their natural propensity for foraging. There are a number of ways to incorporate a platform feeder. Feeder poles will fit nicely on a hanging platform. Clamping feeder poles onto dishes and trays is also an option.

Several birds are drawn to a fly-through platform that is placed on top of 4×4 post feeders. If you don’t have a pole feeder system, you may also purchase a platform that sits on the ground.

Cardinals will also benefit from feeders that empty into a tray with a perch. A good example is the “panorama” feeder. Rather of having feeding ports along the tube, the seed empties into a tray at the bottom with a large continuous perch.

I recommend a weight activated feeder if you need to do squirrel proofing and cardinal friendly simultaneously. Cardinals adore both of the following feeders because they are squirrel-proof.


Beaks of cardinals are robust and powerful. Some of the bigger and hardier seeds can be cracked open this way. Safflower and sunflower (striped or black oil) are two popular choices.

Cracked corn is even edible to them. Peanut pieces and other nuts are also a big hit. Cardinals should be able to eat most birdseed blends, but I’d choose ones with a high quantity of sunflower seeds and a lower quantity of “filler” seeds like milo and millet. See our complete birdseed guide and our article about the best birdseed for cardinals for more information.


The Cardinals are a bashful species of bird. At the feeder, they may stay back if it appears too chaotic, since they don’t always enjoy a lot of chaos. It’s possible to give them choices by having multiple (two or more) feeders in various sections of the yard. Cardinals may feel more secure if feeders are placed near bushes or trees, since they can quickly fly to them.


Cardinals are more likely to return frequently if you always have food ready for them when they arrive. They are said to visit feeders the most in the early morning and early evening.

Early mornings, in my experience, have proven to be correct. Your feeders will become a must-visit stop on their daily route if you fill up your feeders at the end of the day so that there is plenty of seed ready in the morning.


Birdhouses are not used by the Cardinals. However, you may ensure that they have decent nesting sites. They prefer to construct their home in a remote corner of deep vegetation.

This is perfect with thick bushes and trees, and they don’t have to be tall. Nests are most often constructed within three to fifteen feet of the ground. Anything from a hedge row to a clump of shrubs, or an evergreen forest, will suffice.

Since they provide nesting sites as well as covered shelter in the winter, evergreen trees and shrubs are a great option. Planting a variety will help you create “layers” of shrubs with varying heights. Cardinals produce several nests each year and seldom reuse them, hence they are constantly on the lookout for new locations.


The nest is built by female cardinals. Twigs, weeds, pine needles, grass, roots and bark are used to create an open cup shape. Then, using softer plant material, line the inside of the cup.

These nesting needs are simple to find for cardinals. Leave a few small twigs around if you’re trimming shrubs. Little heaps of grass clipping or weeds, for example, are treated the same.

You may also harvest these items and place them in a more visible location. A good holder for nesting material can be made out of an empty suet cage hung from a tree.

Twigs, grasses, pine needles, and even clean pet hair are all acceptable offerings. This hanging cage is made of cotton nesting material, which may be utilized by a variety of birds, according to Birdie Essentials.


Water is required for all birds to bathe and drink. Attracting more birds to your yard, such as cardinals, can be done with bird baths and water features. To provide an even more appealing experience, use de-icers in the winter and solar fountains in the summer. For various advice on how to get birds to use your bird bath, visit our article.


Berries are a big part of the Cardinals’ diets. In your yard, consider planting a few berry-producing shrubs and trees. Plant several varieties with berries so you’ll have fruit for all seasons if you can. Good choices include dogwood, hackberry, mulberry, northern bayberry, and serviceberry.

Did you know why male cardinals get their bright color from carotenoid pigments found in red berries? Hawthorn, serviceberry, raspberry, sumac, and winterberry are some of the red berries that may be grown. Always choose to plant with what is native to your area when you’re planting.


Cardinals eat a diverse diet that includes both seeds and insects. In the spring and summer, they begin to eat more insects. Caterpillars, which they seek to feed their newly hatched chicks, are a favorite. Caterpillars and their babies may benefit from the presence of encouraging caterpillars in your yard.

Try planting some caterpillar favorites such as dill, fennel, parsley, coneflower, milkweed, black-eyed susan, aster and vetch. Even just avoiding use of pesticides in your yard can help ensure there are more caterpillars and larvae for the birds to find.


Consider leaving your perennials for the winter if you clip them down and clean them up at the end of the season. The blossoms produce husks that include multiple seeds as they dry up in the fall.

These dried out perennials are sought after by many wild birds in the fall and winter, including cardinals, who feed on them. In the spring before the new bloom, you can always clean things up.


Fighting one’s own reflection is a trademark of male cardinals. While winter friendships among cardinals endure, once spring arrives, the connection dies away. Males grow increasingly territorial and attempt to drive each other away.

They might thrash and bash themselves against their own image if they mistake it for a rivals male and catch their own reflection. This takes their time, energy, and sometimes even injures them.

Inspect your yard for glass that reflects the rays of the sun. Also be on the lookout for your yard equipment or garden decorations because they might have a shiney chrome.

What you can move, cover up. These stick-on bird decals may help break up the mirror effect for windows. They also help prevent window collisions that are unintentional.


The cat variety is the focus of my discussion. Songbirds are stalked and killed by outdoor cats. It’s in their genes; they can’t help themselves. Yet, by ensuring your bird feeders are well away from places of ground cover, you may help to reduce this danger.

When they get close enough to pounce, cats will search for low bushes, clusters of tall grasses, and crawl spaces beneath decks to hide.

The fallen seed beneath feeders is especially appealing to cardinals. As a result, they are in serious danger. Try to maintain feeders at least 10 feet above groundcover. You want to give the cardinals enough time to examine the cat and flee.


Attracting the gorgeous Northern Cardinal to your yard will be easier with these simple tips. Even just providing them with the appropriate sort of feeder and some seeds will pique their curiosity.

Males like goldfinches and orioles, but not hummingbirds, lose their vibrant color in the winter. I believe their appeal lies in their consistency. We know a familiar backyard friend who is always around.

Leave a Comment