Three Simple Tips to Attract Cardinals to Your Backyard

Ready to welcome these darling birds into your outdoor space?

Have you mastered the fine art of attracting hummingbirds to your backyard? Thinking it's time to recruit some Cardinals to your space as well? The good news: The Northern Cardinal is quite common in the Southern portion of the United States. The other news: It's going to take some work to get these delightful creatures spending time outside your home. (FYI: The male Cardinals are the bright red you may associate with Cardinals, but the females are light brown with touches of red.)

Thankfully,, a site from birding enthusiast Garth C. Clifford, has recently updated a comprehensive post on how to attract Cardinals to your yard. In the article, he runs through 12 simple tips to bring these creatures to your backyard. Of his guidelines, here are three of the most important principles when it comes to attracting Cardinals: Make sure you buy the right kind of feeder; give them the food they like; remove reflective surfaces from your yard as much as possible.

Northern Cardinal male singing song
Stan Tekiela Author / Naturalist / Wildlife Photographer / Getty Images

First, let's look at Clifford's advice for purchasing the right kind of feeder for Cardinals. "As a medium-sized bird, they prefer feeders big enough and solid enough for them to sit, perch, and, most importantly, feed facing forward," he writes, recommending hoppers over tube feeders. Our pick? This two-tiered wild bird feeder from for $22.99.

Which leads us to point number two: you've got to lure Cardinals with the kind of food they like. "Northern Cardinals will eat a variety of seeds, nuts, and even fruit. Their beak is sturdy and strong, best designed for husking and hulling seeds such as their favorite sunflower and safflower," writes Clifford, citing this article from "Black-oil sunflower is one of the most popular feeds used for attracting Cardinals and many other birds to your feeder."

Now that we've got feeders and food covered, here's another important thing to keep in mind: Eliminate as many reflective pieces in your yard as possible. Of course, there are things we can't control like glass windows or a car mirror, but as Clifford explains, Cardinals "will attack their own reflection [on reflective surfaces] if they feel threatened." So if you can, reconsider any glass tables or objects, as well as mirrors in your yard, and place a covering over a car mirror if your car is parked near your yard. For all of Clifford's tips, read the full article here.

Backyard birders: What are your best pieces of advice for welcoming birds into your space? Got any suggestions on the Cardinals front?

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles