Updated at: 18-06-2023 - By: Jane Brody

The Northern Cardinal, although being one of the country’s most iconic birds, probably won’t need any encouragement to visit your bird feeder.

The best way to attract Cardinals to your bird feeder is with a ground-level platform or pole feeder with a wide opening at the top. Cardinals and other large birds can’t share standard feeders, so providing an open platform or dish is a good solution. Therefore, you should provide the Cardinals with their preferred food items, such as sunflower seeds, dried mealworms, and berries.

What Attracts Cardinals-2

The number of Northern Cardinals in your area should suffice, as these birds may be found in any typical American habitat.

Keeping this in mind, cardinals can be diverted by the availability of food in the wild or in neighboring yards.

Assuming you’ve already taken the necessary steps to attract Northern Cardinals to your yard, the next step is to encourage them to start using your bird feeder.

Cardinals can be attracted to your yard by providing them with food, such as ordinary seed mixtures, but sunflower seeds are a favorite, as well as dried or live mealworms to substitute insects that are eaten in the wild, and then there are the fruits you can serve them on top of a platform.

To keep Northern Cardinals coming back, you’ll need to do more than just put out feeders, like this one, and fill them with the sunflower seeds they love.

Due to their size, cardinals cannot use standard bird feeders. They are unable to perch on the wires or the small perches.

The only way to ensure that cardinals continue to visit your feeders on a daily basis is to expose the food they eat to the elements. Cardinals aren’t common feeder birds, so you’ll need to provide them with a platform or dish.

The only drawback is that bird food can go bad if left out in the heat or rain for too long, but this can be prevented by leaving out the food at the right time of day.

Open up to Cardinals on platform

A female Northern Cardinal rests on what appears to be a hanging bird feeder made of wood, which allows her far more freedom of movement than traditional feeders.

If you want to know how Northern Cardinals eat, you need to know that they prefer to eat a variety of berries, insects, and seeds, and they do most of their foraging close to the ground or on the ground.

Although cardinals are frequently spotted at bird feeders, their enormous size makes it difficult for them to reach the food in standard bird feeders that hang from a tree limb or bird feeder pole bracket.

Open-topped platform feeders are the most popular choice for cardinals.

A platform bird feeder is perfect for bringing the feeding of a large bird into the open. It’s best if it’s a platform attached to a pole, but a bird feeder perched on the ground can be just as efficient.

Northern Cardinals can be fed a diet similar to that in the wild by placing food on a platform, however a self-contained bird feeder would not be able to accommodate their dietary needs.

If you’re out of wild bird food, you may always use ordinary bird food, such oats from the kitchen, on a platform bird feeder to attract Cardinals.

Although oats are best served as part of a seed mix rather than on their own to Northern Cardinals, these birds will also eat grains if given the opportunity.

On the platform, you can feed the cardinals their favorite treat, a seed-filled suet cake.

Of course, you can also provide fruit-filled suet cakes or suet balls, as well as suet stuffed with insects, to Cardinals.

Ground feeder, for ground eater

What Attracts Cardinals-3

In the same way that this cardinal is quite content to forage from a rock, bird feeders should be placed where ground-foraging birds congregate.

Feeding Northern Cardinals on the ground is an excellent place to start because this is where they are most likely to be foraging in the wild.

Think about it If your property lacks trees, you might witness cardinals foraging on the ground.

The use of a ground-level platform feeder is one method for luring Cardinals to a feeding station.

Its an open to the elements bird feeder mind so bird food may fast rot; timing is key as you only need to leave out a combination of Cardinal favorites when you know it will be eaten up before it goes bad.

Pile on some dried or live mealworms, some mixed seeds, and some sunflower seeds to this ground-level bird feeder to supplement the insects the birds would normally eat in the wild.

A ground dish-like feeder, this can be used to provide Cardinals with berries, fresh fruits, or dried fruits.

To ensure these less adept at bird feeders can actually consume what is typically reserved for hard to reach bird food stuck inside hanging bird feeders, a ground bird feeder should be placed on the lawn.

Fed on Sunflower Seeds

A platform bird feeder with an open top is a good choice for providing sunflower seeds to Cardinals and other birds that may have difficulty reaching a traditional bird feeder.

You can attract Cardinals to your platform bird feeder by filling it with seeds, with sunflower seeds taking precedence.

Cardinals eat a variety of foods, including nut meat and cracked corn in addition to seed mixtures that may contain sunflower seeds or wheat.

Sunflower seeds, specifically, should be placed on the platform feeder’s top shelf to attract Northern Cardinals.

Cardinals like plain sunflower seeds, though we’ve seen them successfully fed other types of sunflower seed.

In either the winter or the summer, feeding solely seeds to cardinals is not a good idea, though dried mealworms can be offered to help them get the protein they need.

Northern Cardinals may never again feed in the wild if they get dependent on your platform bird feeder.

Replace insects with Mealworms

What Attracts Cardinals

When you can’t get live insects in a suet cake, you may have to resort to feeding dry mealworms to your Cardinal.

Cards do enjoy dried mealworms, and the species is an insectivore that often feeds on a wide variety of insects it encounters in the wild.

Dried mealworms are fine for Cardinals to eat, and live mealworms, with their wriggling appeal, can also be provided.

Due to the fact that mealworms cannot be used in any type of closed bird feeder, an open top platform bird feeder is once again beneficial.

On top of the platform, you may freely feed cardinals dried mealworms.

Even if simply seeds or fruits are available, I think Northern Cardinals can be enticed to a yard and, by extension, a bird feeder, though having dried or live mealworms visible to Cardinals can nearly assure success.

Additionally, you can provide ground-dwelling cardinals with dried mealworms.

Can be attracted off bird feeders

A Cardinal would love being provided bird feed in this manner on a porch railing, despite the fact that an open top platform bird feeder can keep bird food neat.

Did you know that merely scattering bird food on the ground would attract birds just as effectively as using a bird feeder?

Nonetheless, a platform bird feeder mounted on a pole or situated low to the ground might help to keep the yard looking neat and orderly.

To encourage Cardinals to forage on your lawn like they would in the wild, you may also scatter bird seed and dried or live mealworms around the grass.

It may be necessary to gradually introduce bird food placed on the lawn if you want to attract Cardinals, but at least bird feeders will let them know there’s food in them.

Your feeding capacity You can safely leave seeds or mealworms on the ground for a few days to feed the cardinals, but you should never do the same with fruit because it will quickly go bad.

Place bird food, such as bird seed or mealworms, in the areas of your yard where cardinals tend to congregate. If you have Cardinals that regularly visit your deck, porch, or patio, you can attract them by placing feeders there.

If you want to attract Cardinals, offer them some live mealworms, but at the very least, make sure they know there is food out there.

Make sure Cardinals will find your bird food by placing it on top of a bird feeder dish, but keep in mind that Cardinals can be fed even without a feeder if you can at least remove the stale food from the ground in a timely manner.

Noisy Bird Bath feet away

After learning that there are bird feeders in the area, Cardinals will be drawn to the sound of running water in a bird bath like this one.

You can try making some noise if you’re having difficulties luring Cardinals to your yard and, by extension, your bird feeder.

To make some noise, try using a solar-powered fountain installed in a bird bath.

The Northern Cardinal is a typical bird bath user since it still has to preen its feathers while staying hydrated.

The sound of running water is known to attract birds, and as cardinals are known to frequent bird baths, it is imperative that one be provided. It is expected that the cardinals will visit the water supply first, and then eventually discover the nearby platform feeder.

A bird bath may seem like an unnecessary expense, but keep in mind that it is essential to the survival of several species of birds.

During dry periods, birds often seek out a bird bath to drink from. Cardinals will act similarly to how they do around puddles in the wild when in and around a bird bath, and they have never been seen to be bothered by a fountain.

The solar panels can be placed on the ground or on a wall, and the fountain element can go anywhere as long as it can hold a large cardinal.

No part of the system poses any risk to Cardinals, but after they’ve been drawn in, they may stop utilizing the bird bath in favor of your feeders.

In this case, the sound of rushing water is the minimum requirement for luring Cardinals to your bird feeders, and eventually they will learn to use the platform feeder.

To summarize

You may entice Cardinals to your feeder by making it accessible to all birds, but especially to those that are larger than the more typical backyard species.

A Northern Cardinal is not your typical feeder bird, therefore whatever feeder you’re using must be exposed to the weather in order to attract them.

You can count on Cardinals to visit your bird feeder if you hang it on a pole and leave the top open so they may perch on it or wander all over the food. Because of this, a ground bird feeder may attract Cardinals, as they are ground feeders.

If you’re feeding Cardinals, you should offer them something similar to what they’d find in the wild.

Keep in mind that cardinals have a penchant for sunflower seeds, and give those a higher priority in your selection of protein-rich seed mixtures.

Dried mealworms are another great addition to seed mixes that Cardinals will enjoy, and live mealworms will be devoured in no time.

Since cardinals are avid fruit eaters, you may substitute whatever berry or fruit you have on hand for the wild berries.

You can use a regular bird feeder with peanuts or seeds, or you can put a dish out for the birds and add dry mealworms to that. Since of its great size, a Cardinal cannot use these devices because it is too difficult for it to access the small amount of food they contain.

A platform feeder with an open top can attract Northern Cardinals, and so will spreading bird seed or mealworms on the grass.

Birds who are often reluctant to visit your yard, such as Cardinals, may be persuaded by the soothing sound of water trickling down from a solar-powered bird bath.

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