10 Ways to Attract the Northern Cardinal 10 Ways to Attract the Northern Cardinal

The melodious whistle of the Northern Cardinal is probably one of the sweetest sounds you can wake up to. This attractive bird, often referred to as the Red Bird, is found along the eastern half of the United States from Maine to Florida and as far west as Arizona, New Mexico and California. Its preferred habitat is varied and ranges from shrub lands and swamps to gardens and woodlands.

Here are 10 ways to making the Northern Cardinal a regular in your garden:

  • Cardinals are omnivores and eat grain, insects and fruits readily. Since they prefer to feed off the ground, you can scatter cracked corn, melon seeds, sunflower seeds, raisins and peanuts to attract them.
  • Plant native berry-producing shrubs and trees, such as mulberry, blackberry, dogwood and dewberry.
  • Cardinals require insects to feed their young. Plant wildflowers and other insect attracting plants to ensure that your backyard is hospitable and welcoming to these beautiful birds.
  • Install a feeder. Cardinals are large birds, so make sure that the feeder does not sway in the wind or is not in any way unbalanced. A low platform feeder preferably with a roof will work well.
  • Create a source of fresh water by placing a shallow bird bath with gently sloping edges.
  • Install a fountain if you are afraid that the water may freeze during colder months.
  • Northern Cardinals are not migratory birds and so require suitable protection in all weather conditions. A mixture of deciduous and evergreen trees is a good option as these address the shelter needs of the birds throughout the year.
  • They nest in shrubs, brambles and thickets, preferably facing an open area. Since cardinals mate for life, once they find your garden suitable, the pair will be content to raise their young and become permanent residents.
  • If you have other pets such as cats or dogs, make sure their time outside is restricted, especially during the nesting period of the Northern Cardinals.

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