3 Ways to Attract Northern Cardinals

The Northern Cardinal is one of the most beloved of the backyard birds that regularly visits bird feeders. While the male cardinal’s crimson plumage is a wonderful sight on a snowy day, the female cardinal is also quite beautiful thanks to its rusty subtle coloring.

Mostly located in the eastern portion of the U.S., the Northern Cardinal is considered a resident bird in those areas, meaning that it doesn’t migrate. At one time, these glorious birds were mostly restricted to a range in the southeastern U.S., but in recent decades the species has slowly spread north and west.

Want to attract Northern Cardinals to your yard? Try these three tips:

1. Black Oil Sunflower Seeds. Without a doubt, Northern Cardinals enjoy black-oil sunflower seeds. A well-stocked feeder full of black-oil sunflower seeds will draw in large numbers of cardinals. These seeds are packed with fat and protein, which helps cardinals preserve energy throughout the colder winter months.

2. Use the Right Feeders. Many birds have a preference as to what kind of feeders they’re willing to use. For cardinals, feeders that have built-in trays or larger perches are ideal. As one of the mid-sized backyard birds, cardinals need extra space to fit comfortably on a feeder. Another option is to build a bird table – a small, raised platform where you can pour seed. If that seems like a fun project, ask the experts at your local Ace® Hardware for ideas on the constructing a raised platform with the best weatherproof materials.

3. Plant Evergreen Thickets & Shrubs. You will rarely see Northern Cardinals out in the open. Instead, they tend to restrict their activity to shrubs and bushes along woodland borders – which basically means they love the typical suburban yard. With that in mind, it’s easy to make them comfortable while making your yard look great! By planting evergreen shrubs, you’ll provide cover and roosting opportunities for cardinals all year long. Once those are in place, locate feeders about 12-15 feet from the nearest vegetation.