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How To Attract And Feed Cardinals – Help Cardinals Survive Winter!

Looking for a few easy ways to attract and feed cardinals this fall and winter – and help them survive the cold to brighten up your landscape next spring and summer?

Cardinals are one of the most beautiful of all backyard birds. Although male cardinals steal the show with their blazing red feathers, female cardinals add their own touch of elegant color with their slightly reddish tinges on their crest, tail and wings.

But having them in your landscape can bring more than just beauty. Cardinals are big seed eaters, and during the spring, summer and fall months, they can consume quite a few seeds from the heads of a wide variety of weeds. In addition, they consume a fair amount of insects as well. And of course, for many, seeing a cardinal is also thought to be a sign of good luck ahead!

how to attract and feed cardinals in the winter
Cardinals are one of the few birds that do not migrate. And when winter turns rough, a little help can go a long way to helping them survive until spring.
Cardinals In Late Fall & Winter – How To Feed & Attract Cardinals

One thing is for sure, cardinals are a tough and hardy bird. They are among the few birds that do not seek warmer pastures as winter approaches. Unlike hummingbirds, swallows and nearly all robins, cardinals do not migrate, instead opting to shelter in place.

For gardeners, bird lovers and those who simply enjoy a little brightness in the barren winter landscape, it’s a huge benefit. After all, it’s exciting to look outdoors and see their red coats bring life and color to the long dreary and drab days of winter.

But those drab and dreary conditions can pose a few problems for cardinals. Especially when it comes to their survival. Cardinals love to eat seeds, berries, fruits and insects. Of course, in the spring, summer and fall, all of those are quite plentiful. But that is not the case when winter arrives.

Quite often, just as winter hits with its coldest and most harsh conditions, food sources for cardinals are scarce. Insects and fruits are long gone. And the few seeds and dried berries that might be left on bushes or trees are often covered in snow and ice.

Cardinals in the winter
During the winter months, food can be hard to find for cardinals. Trees and bushes that were once full of berries are mostly barren and empty.

It can certainly spell trouble for cardinals. They actually need more energy than ever in the winter to keep warm on cold nights. But the good news is by simply helping them out in their time of need, you can have them not only visiting and feeding all winter, but having them love it enough to stick around all year round!

How To Attract And Feed Cardinals – Helping Cardinals Survive Winter!

When it comes down to attracting cardinals, there are 3 simple keys to success. First and foremost, you need to provide them with the foods they need and love. Secondly, you need to provide it to them in a feeder and location that make it safe and easy for them to feed. And third and equally important – you need to provide them with a consistent meal.

With that in mind – here is a look at how do all three with ease!

Providing Cardinals With The Food They Love – How To Attract And Feed Cardinals

In the winter, cardinals are looking for high fat, high energy foods. And when it comes to the best of the best food to feed them to meet those needs, you can’t beat black-oil sunflower seeds, cracked corn, safflower seeds and small chunks of suet or dried fruit and berries.

All of the above mentioned foods provide cardinals with all the energy they need to survive even the coldest of nights. And they can all be usually found locally or on line with ease. (Affiliate Links Below)

Although cardinals will eat all types of sunflower seeds, black oil varieties are loaded with protein and have a higher oil content. Better yet, cardinals absolutely love them! Cracked corn is also high in nutrient value, and is easy for cardinals to consume as well.

black oil sunflower seeds
Black oil sunflower seeds are loaded with nutrition!

Safflower seeds are a great addition because although cardinals love them, squirrels and chipmunks do not. And by mixing safflower seeds to the mix, you can often keep the bird feeder robbing pests away.

Finally, by adding in a few chunks of suet or dried berries and fruits every once in a while as a treat – you can all but ensure that cardinals will return again and again. Now that we have covered what feeds cardinals love, lets talk about the best feeders to use and where to place them!

Bird Feeders For Cardinals – How To Attract And Feed Cardinals

Cardinals like to eat with the food directly in front of them. This helps them stay safe and alert to any danger around them. Because of this, feeders that allow them to perch or even sit are best of all, which is exactly why tray feeders are an ideal choice.

You can find tray feeders in several styles. Most all will allow cardinals to sit at the edge or even on the tray itself to eat. Even better, tray feeders are easy to hang from a tree or in bushes. This is important because you need to locate your feeders where cardinals feel safe.

With their bright colors, the birds can be easy for eagles, hawks and other prey to spot. But by hanging them under or near cover, you can help them more safely feed. Affiliate Link: Metal Tray Bird Feeder with Dome Top

In addition, when winter cardinal feeding, giving them a supply of fresh water nearby can be a huge help as well. Cardinals can struggle to find water in the winter. Something as simple as a tray of water under or near the feeder is perfect to give them a little hydration.

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Feeding Consistently – How To Attract And Feed Cardinals

Last but certainly not least, you need to feed cardinals (and any other birds you are trying to attract) consistently. One of the biggest mistakes those with feeders make is to allow the food to run out for long periods of time.

It will often lead to cardinals leaving for more consistent feeders. Or even worse, not being able to find food at all. Try to always keep your feeders filled on a regular schedule. It sounds crazy, but the cardinals will get used to knowing when it’s feeding time!

One final note on feeding cardinals – they tend to feed early and late. So having your trays with feed early in the morning and late in the day will always have them happy and content. Best of all, it will not only help them survive winter, but allow you the opportunity to have them filling your yard with color all year around! Happy Bird Feeding – Jim and Mary.

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