Cardinals are among North America's most popular songbirds. Male cardinals are known by their brilliant red feathers and majestic crested heads. Female cardinals, while also beautiful, sport a more subtle dull reddish color.
Cardinals are very eager to dine at most any available bird feeder. They will visit your feeder starting early in the morning and they'll keep returning to it well into the evening. Since cardinals dine early in the morning and late in the evening, they have plenty of time for entertaining you by singing all day long while the other birds are taking their turns at your bird feeder.
During the day, listen for the sweet sounds of their songs. Cardinals absolutely love to sing. The female cardinals will start singing in a warm, sweet voice. The males then follow up by belting out the same sweet melody. If the females change to a different tune, their mates will also change to the new melody. Male and female cardinals often serenade each other, alternately singing the same tune one after the other.
At the bird feeder, male cardinals will take their part. They often fight other birds for the available birdseed. The very possessive male cardinal will usually give in though and allow the other birds to share in the bounty. As the breeding season approaches during March, the overpowering mood of the male cardinal shifts towards its mate with the feeding ritual. In late winter, the male cardinal will even break the seeds out of sunflower shells for his mate, and then lovingly feed her.
Strategies for feeding Cardinals
Cardinals prefer birdfeeders that are about 5-6 feet above the ground. They prefer a steady stationary feeder over a hanging birdfeeder.
Sunflower seeds are a favorite food for Cardinals. They will usually sift through the entire mixture of seeds to get to every sunflower seed before starting in on the other seeds. They also enjoy white proso millet and safflower seeds when they can't get sunflower seeds.
Cardinals are not migratory birds. Although they often wander during the winter months searching for food and water, very rarely do they stray more than a few miles from their nest. Since they don't migrate, if you establish a habitat that is attractive to them, you can have a cardinal family reside in your yard or garden for many years.
Like most birds, Cardinals prefer to have a mixture of evergreen and deciduous trees in the vicinity of their nesting area. They'll often build their nest in shrubs or bushes that face a meadow or lawn. A birdhouse placed on a fencepost or in a tree near the edge of your lawn makes a welcome abode for cardinals.
Cardinals are among the most beautiful birds in the world. They are plentiful in a large portion of North America and several states have designated the Cardinal as their state birds. You can enjoy the beautiful sights and sounds of these magnificent birds all year long if you spend a little time preparing an enticing habitat for them in your garden or lawn!