Attracting Cardinals

male cardinalCardinals are magnificant birds who are a bright and colorful and have a lovely song.  These beautiful birds can be found in the eastern half of the United States (and they can also be found in some places in the southwest like Arizona and New Mexico, as well as Baja California and Mexico), and is so well loved that seven states have named the Cardinal their official state bird.

Male cardinals are a brilliant red color with a black mask, while females are a golden brown color with reddish orange highlights on the tail, wings, and crest.  Both the male and female cardinal have crests on their heads. Because these birds do not migrate south for the winter.

cardinals in a christmas tree

They are often associated with Christmas and winter scenes.   I've seen cardinals in a winter  and christmas scenes featured on sweatshirts, paintings, designer collector plates and cups, figurines.

To attract these these magnificant winged creatures to your yard, the first thing you should do is put up a bird feeder.  Cardnals are primarily seed eaters.  Because cardinals have a preference for sunflower and safflower seeds, I add an extra 25 pound bag of sunflower seeds or safflower seeds to the pre-mixed  50 pound  bag song bird food that I buy.   Cardinals also loved cracked corn, so if you also use a tray feeder offer cracked corn on it.  You can also just get a small container (I use an old garbage can lid with the handle removed) to offer the cracked corn on the ground.  This way, I also attract duck with the cracked corn, and it gives the squirrels a place to nibble from without them trying to destroy your feeders.  Cardinals also love the weed seeds, fruit, elm buds, and a wide variety of insects.

Cardinals prefer a yard with lots of shrubs for cover.  This way they can movee safely through the trees, hedges, and shrubs.   Tangled webs of vines are also favorite hiding spots, especially in winter.   And pines, like spruces, hemlocks, and other dense evergreens are good choices for providing cover for a cardinal.


If you want to plant some specific plants and trees that cardinals seem to prefer, try:  Concord grape, Sweet Autumn Clematis, Blue Spruce, any hemlock tree, holly, and brambles.

Ways to Attract Birds to your Yard
Feeding the Birds Providing Water for the Birds
Providing Housing for the Birds Landscaping and Gardening for the Birds
Other Methods to Attract Birds Providing Safety for Birds

Other Birds You May Want to Attract
Back to the Main Page Attracting Hummingbirds
Attracting Bluebirds Attracting Orioles
Attracting Finches  Attracting Buntings
Attracting Woodpeckers  Attracting Tanagers 


Since June 15, 1999