top of page
  • Writer's pictureJohn Sterling Poole

The Caveats of Cardinals (Plus Some Season's Greetings)

Our yards are filled with plenty of pretty birds, but they are camouflaged well. The details on the birds can’t be made out. We don’t notice some birds until they move because they are so hard to detect. One bird, though, that is always found easily is the cardinal. Just about everyone loves the vibrant red found on the males and the softer brown-grays on the females. Their chirp is beautiful and easily identifiable. We’re going to explore what cardinals love, what they like, and what makes them the colorful feathered friends that we adore!

First, the cardinal absolutely devours loose seed. Especially the white safflower which is full of energy and protein. Their hard, orange beaks allow them to crack open the hard shell. While cardinals will eat sunflower chips (especially in-shell sunflower seeds), they will always prefer safflower. Like a lot of other birds, the cardinal will also eat calcium bits for their own bone structure and egg structure. Finding a blend that include these three elements will not only draw and keep the cardinals in but it will also keep your birds happy and healthy.

Cardinals, like all other birds, rely on heavy energy foods to survive. Besides safflower, they will also eat suets and BarkButter products to keep those levels high. What they really love and desire, though, are mealworms! Cardinals will gobble up mealworms all year long. Like all birds, cardinals prefer live mealworms to dried, but they will compromise if needed. I love to mix dried worms into my seed blends just to increase the protein content. There are plenty of suets and cylinders that include these insects in them as well. They will eat them if they are there!

What a lot of folks don’t realize what cardinals really rely on to gain their red color is fruit! The amount of fruit a cardinal consumes decides the color that they will show off for mating/nesting season. The males are fully red while the females show off only a fraction of that red. However, both need to consume a proper amount of sugar in order to be successful with procreation! A discolored bird can live a lonely life. It might even been so ostracized that it doesn’t survive very long. Feeding your cardinals cranberries, raisins, and cherries (all dried) will give them the proper amount of sugars. The winter season is the time that cardinals crave the fruit since it isn’t naturally found.

During the spring and summer, cardinals can find plenty of natural food. During the winter, they need you!

Following all of these steps, feeding all of these foods, and following all of the normal bird tips (like having water out always and keeping feeders clean) will surely bring the cardinals in. Which are the exact birds we want in our yards this time of the year!

The Holiday Season is such a special time of the year for everyone and this year is a great year to truly appreciate all the good things in life like cardinals, songbirds, nature, and everything else outside! We offer tons of gift options that I could go on and on about for many, many paragraphs. Instead, I’m going to give you a quick idea about a handful of gifts we’re offering!

Seed Characters are a favorite! These cute figures are full of protein, energy, and everything needed by the birds. There a several different kinds (one is particularly safflower heavy which means the cardinals will love it) and they make great gifts for any birder (whether they are experienced or novice).

Another gift that I love to give is the seed wreathe. This doesn’t need a feeder as it can be hung anywhere. Once it is up, the birds will slowly pick away at it. It is also full of all the needed nutrients, so the birds are going to be doing fine with whatever you provide.

Lastly, we have our Winter SuperBlend which I went into detail about last post, but to summarize: it’s great! It is full of energy and come in both loose seed and cylinder form.

No matter what, we at Wild Birds really just want you and your birds happy, healthy, and comfortable this Holiday Season. Stay safe, take care, and we’ll see you in the New Year!

109 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page