In my yard one bird that really stands out is the Northern Cardinal. Their great songs and bright colors make them very recognizable. A favorite of many people, Cardinals are the state bird of seven states. There is nothing quite like seeing that bright red bird fly in to the feeder early in the morning after a fresh snow fall. One thing I’ve noticed about cardinals is that they seem a little shyer than many of the other birds around my yard. Sometimes I can almost walk right up to the feeder before a Nuthatch or Chickadee will fly away, but as soon as I open the door the Cardinals fly back to the cover of the thick spruce trees. I think this shyness is one of the reasons I enjoy watching them so much, they like to hide in thick cover so you don’t always get to see them. The Cardinal is one of the only species of songbird where the female sings, usually it’s just the males that we hear all those cheerful notes from.
Northern Cardinals do not migrate, and their range stretches from the east coast of the United States West to about The Great Planes, and South to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Cardinals are found in many areas throughout their range from city parks to the edges of forests. They often nest in thick nasty cover like shrubs and overgrown vines. There are nesting boxes on the market geared toward Cardinals as well. These boxes are generally constructed with three sides and a roof, with the fourth side of the bird house wide open. My version of this type of product will be coming soon, stop by www.wildstewardship.com for these and your other bird house or nest box needs.
The commercial bird feeds available that Cardinals seem to prefer are cracked corn, black oil sunflower seeds, and safflower seeds, or a combination of these. I’ve noticed the cardinals in my yard seem to prefer a feeder with a platform where they can perch and pick through the seed mixture to find their favorites. When asked which of my bird feeders I’d suggest to attract Cardinals, I always recommend my Simple Seed Bird feeder. It has a large enough area in the front for Cardinals to sit, and can be used with any of the preferred seeds individually or as a mixture. You can find out more about my bird feeders and feeding birds in my previous blog “Feed Your Backyard Birds.”