The Cardinal Bird Feeder - What Works Best?1548060
The intention of a cardinal bird feeder, of course, would be to attract the cardinal. This bird, of course, is probably the single most popular bird for backyard bird watchers. However, to the dismay of many, there really is no cardinal feeder per se. But, the bird definitely has both feeder and seed preferences. Let's take a look!
First, what does not work that well.
The tube feeder is fairly popular. However, do not make the mistake of thinking it a favorite of the cardinal. I've been watching birds for years and years and I can tell you with total certainty that this is not your best choice for the cardinal. He has virtually no neck and is forced to turn his entire body sideways to consume from a tube. In addition, he's just a smidgen too big for most perches.
Some people will advise you to add a tray to the bottom. Granted, you will see the bird more often if you do this. Just keep in mind that Droll Yankees trays fit Droll Yankees tube feeders Elements trays match Elements tube feeders Bird Quest trays fit Bird Quest tube feeders.
Do you know which brand you have?
Also, keep in mind that trays attract lots of other birds like grackles and starlings. If these birds go to your tube feeder, you won't see many cardinals (or any other birds for that matter). Maintain in mind the objective of a tube feeder is to offer for small birds like the tufted titmouse and Carolina chickadee.
Add a tray, in come the medium and large birds, away go the small birds-just like that, you've defeated the objective of the tube.
So what does work?
A correct cardinal bird feeder is any feeder whose design accommodates the cardinal's preference to "bend at the hip" or not at all when feeding. You want a feeder that doesn't force the bird to turn its body. A fundamental hopper feeder is a fantastic option as a cardinal bird feeder. So is any fly-via bird feeder (a fly-through feeder is open on all sides and has ample space). Also, platform feeders on the ground are ideal cardinal feeders.
There are manufacturers of feeders who describe their product as "cardinal feeder." The no-no is one such example. Though this feeder does accommodate the cardinal, be careful! Many bird feeders do not do what the manufacturer claims.
The Droll Yankees squirrel proof feeder called the whipper is designed to be a cardinal feeder. The curved perch is a great innovation that accommodates the bird perfectly. The Brome Care "squirrel buster" squirrel proof feeder, with its detachable ring, also serves the bird, though the bird does not appear as comfortable on this feeder as he does on the whipper (make no mistake, although, the Brome Care Product is equal and even superior to the Droll Yankees product in many methods).
What seed should you feed the cardinal? Hands down, safflower. This is a bitter tasting seed that squirrels, grackles and starlings have a tendency not to consume.
If you don't have these pests floating about, any high quality bird seed will do. Black oil sunflower seed and sunflower hearts (chips) are favorites of the cardinal. He'll eat most blends, as well but do not use big box blends--they are full of filler that birds do not eat.
I've noticed cardinals consume fruit--you'll need a fruit feeder for this.
So, what is my preferred cardinal bird feeder?
You know, my advise to bird watchers desiring to attract cardinals to "get back to basics." I suggest either a wooden hopper feeder or a fly-through platform feeder serve as their cardinal bird feeder.