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Cardinals don’t have too many specific requirements for bird feeders compared to other birds, except that they are slightly larger than most, so perches should be a little longer.
However, the feeder should be accessible for birds but may need to prevent squirrels and other animals from getting to the seed. It should be easy to clean and hold sunflowers and other favorite cardinal foods. You will want something that you can hang or erect in a convenient spot to benefit from watching the beautiful Northern Cardinal dining.
Below, you will find reviews of the best bird feeders for cardinals, including hanging feeders and even a window-mounted feeder that really lets you spy on your feathered visitors.
|Best Overall||Droll Yankees New Generation Sunflowe||
|Best Value||North States Large Clear||
|Premium Choice||Droll Yankees Yankee Flipper||
|Frisco Squirrel Defense Wild Bird Feeder||
|Droll Yankees New Generation||
|Dimensions:||2.5” x 2.5” x 23”|
The Droll Yankees New Generation Sunflower or Mixed Seed Bird Feeder is made with a polycarbonate tube that has been treated to resist UV rays, which means that seeds won’t spoil too quickly. It has a stainless-steel hanging wire, which is strong and durable. It can be attached to virtually any branch or feeding hanger.
This feeder has six ports to offer multiple points of access. There’s even a threaded base that allows for the addition of a tray or a pole, so it can be customised to meet your needs, as well as those of your garden visitors.
Although the New Generation Sunflower Feeder is expensive, it is a quality feeder that should last longer than one or two seasons. The poles could be a little longer to really benefit cardinals, but its quality makes this our choice as the best overall bird feeder for cardinals.
|Dimensions:||5.5” x 4.25” x 15.5”|
The North States Large Clear Choice Window Bird Feeder is a clear plastic tray feeder that is designed to be attached to a window and allows you to enjoy a real bird’s-eye view of your visitors. Its large size means that it is suitable for cardinals, and the combination of the plastic material and the easy access offered by its design means that this feeder is easy to clean and maintain.
The tray on the feeder has drainage holes to prevent water build-up from rain and other sources, and the feeder is attached using two sturdy suction cups. There’s also a section to hold water for the birds. Suction cups can lose their suction if you move the tray too often, and this type of feeder is only really suitable for quiet houses. If you have cats, dogs, or kids, they may scare the birds away from the feeder. The low price, decent quality, and good features of this feeder make it the best bird feeder for cardinals for the money.
|Dimensions:||8.5” x 8.5” x 28.5”|
Preventing squirrels from eating all the seed and bird food can feel like a full-time job once you’ve put a feeder up, but the Droll Yankees Yankee Flipper Motorized Bird Feeder has a fairly unique approach to doing exactly that. The perch at the bottom is connected to a weight-sensitive trigger. As soon as it detects anything weighing more than a bird and as much as a squirrel, the motor activates and gently spins the base to throw the squirrel off. It is designed so that the weight of birds won’t set the motor off.
The rest of the feeder is a polycarbonate cylinder that will hold up to 5 pounds of food and has four feeding hatches. It can be cleaned with soapy water, and the base is designed to be easily removed for this very purpose.
The motorized feeder is expensive, and while it works in many cases, some squirrely can be incredibly wise and may still find a way to beat the trap.
|Dimensions:||5.5” x 6.5” x 15.75”|
If you’re looking for a simpler yet equally effective method of keeping the squirrels out of your bird feeder, the Frisco Squirrel Defense Wild Bird Feeder is an excellent alternative to the expensive motorized feeder. The feeder is spring-loaded, which means that it doesn’t rely on batteries and doesn’t need recharging. However, when something as heavy as a squirrel is detected on the device, the feeder doors will slide down to prevent anything from getting in and eating the food.
There are four ports in total, and each has its own perch which means birds won’t be scrapping over the best feeding position. The tube will hold 1.5 pounds of seed weight, which is about average, and the price tag is also about average for a wild bird feeder. Although most will make do, the port perches could be a little longer to better accommodate cardinals. Otherwise, this is a solid choice.
|Dimensions:||2.5” x 2.5” x 17.5”|
|Material:||Stainless steel, plastic|
The Droll Yankees New Generation Metal Peanut Bird Feeder is a simple tube cage feeder. The tube is made from a wire mesh and is designed primarily to hold peanuts. The mesh is small enough to hold the nuts in place but large enough that the birds can easily get the food out. The feeder holds 1 pound of peanuts and doesn’t have any perches, although cardinals will be able to hold on to the wire and get to the food easily enough in most cases.
Mesh feeders aren’t the best choice if you have squirrels in the area because they can hang on to the wire to get the food inside. However, as well as being suitable for nuts, this feeder has also been successfully used for mealworms. For a relatively simple feeder, it is on the expensive side.
|Dimensions:||8.0” x 8.0” x 12.25”|
|Material:||Plastic, wire mesh|
The More Birds Sedona Screen Bird Feeder is a wire mesh feeder with a seed tray at the bottom and four individual feeding ports, each with its own perch. The feeder also has a cover, which prevents seeds and nuts from getting wet when it rains. The top and the base of the feeder easily twist off for refilling and easy cleaning. It also has a seed diverter to ensure the seeds keeps moving freely, while drainage holes allow any moisture to escape.
The feeder is a reasonable price, considering the inclusion of multiple perches, a tray, and a cover. However, the mesh material means that it is really only suitable for larger seeds and some seeds will escape out of the ports even though the plastic does have a diverter that is supposed to prevent this from being a problem.
|Dimensions:||10” x 10” x 12”|
The North States Village Collection Bayside Cottage Bird Feeder is made from molded plastic and has a miniature cottage design with a grey roof and white door. The roof lifts off to fill with seed, and the windows are not only part of the aesthetics of the cottage, but they are also useful for monitoring seed level so that you know when it is time to refill. The tray can be removed so it is easy to clean, and the feeder is a decent price considering its unique design.
The feeder is not squirrel-proof, but no tray feeder really is. The design will divide opinions, but if you like the look of it, there is a full set of similarly matching feeder designs.
|Dimensions:||2.2” x 12.8” x 15.9”|
The Perky-Pet Cardinal Wild Bird Feeder has been designed specifically for feeding cardinals with its wide feeding tray and a cover to protect the seed from rain. It will hold 2.5 pounds of seed and is made from all metal with no plastic or wood, so it’s designed to be durable and withstand regular use. The Perky-Pet Cardinal Feeder will feed up to 15 birds at a time. Although the feeder claims to prevent squirrels, the bright color seems to attract them. Still, it is easy to fill and is a decent price with an attractive look.
|Dimensions:||6.93” x 6.93” x 20.53”|
|Material:||Coated metal, polycarbonate|
The Squirrel-X By More Birds X5 Squirrel Resistant Bird Feeder is designed to prevent squirrels from getting to the food inside by using a spring-loaded design. If the weight of a squirrel is detected on the feeder, the doors slide shut, therefore preventing them from getting any of the tasty treats inside. The tension spring can even be adjusted so that you can make it more or less sensitive. If you’re having problems with large birds stealing the food, you can make the trigger more sensitive and keep these away, too.
The feeder is expensive, and some squirrels will always find a way to circumnavigate a feeder’s defences. The tension spring can also be easily broken, especially by crazed squirrels trying to get to the food.
|Dimensions:||10.6” x 10.6” x 18.11”|
|Material:||Red cedar, wire mesh|
The Copper Spade Cedar & Mesh Wild Bird Feeder is a luxurious-looking bird feeder that is made from American cedar and a black wire mesh. The hanging wire is connected to the base rather than the lid, which gives greater stability and ensures the feeder won’t break easily. It comes assembled and has a feeding tray with eight perches, each with its own easy-access doors to allow birds to get their fill of seed.
The feeder isn’t squirrel-proof, and it is quite expensive, although this is explained by the use of quality materials. However, despite the use of strong materials, the feeder is, unfortunately, not as durable as some of the less expensive feeders and may not be suitable for windy environments or frenzied diners.
The cardinal, or Northern Cardinal, is a songbird native to the United States. They are non-migratory birds, which means that they don’t fly south for winter and can be seen in gardens throughout the year. They also retain their unmistakable red plumage during the winter and summer, which makes them quite easy to spot and identify, especially against a snowy or frosty backdrop.
Cardinals are a popular bird and one that a lot of people want to attract to their backyard. With a dedicated cardinal bird feeder, it is possible to keep them fed even during the harsh winter months and to enjoy watching their feeding habits and listening to their songs.
As long as you live within the range of cardinals, if you put a feeder out, there is a good chance you will attract them. Ensure that you have good shrubs around the garden, and they may even choose to nest within sight of your home. In terms of food choice, they will eat most seed varieties that are commonly left out, but they do prefer sunflower seeds when given a choice.
A hungry cardinal will feed from any type of feeder, but they do prefer to use a perch. Because they are on the larger side, they benefit from having a larger perch measuring around 5 inches long. This enables them to comfortably rest on the perch and grab the seed without having to eat at an awkward angle.
Cardinals do prefer sunflower seeds over most other foods, but they will also eat safflower seeds, peanuts, and cracked corn. Ensure you choose a product that will not only hold these but still offers easy access to the feeder’s contents.
Bird feeders should not be left out all year without regular cleaning. If you don’t clean a feeder, seeds can go bad and bacteria can grow. If the birds continue to eat the seed they contain, they can get ill.
You can use a heavily-diluted bleach solution to clean a feeder, but you will also want one that is easy to brush seed bits away between each cleaning and that can be easily disassembled so that you can properly clean the inside of the feeder.
Wet seeds spoil more quickly than dry ones, especially if it is in a hot and humid environment. As such, your feeder should offer some kind of shelter from the elements. Many have a covered top, but if the cover isn’t wide enough, the rain will still get in. Feeders that have drainage holes are also beneficial because the rain is more likely to drain from the inside.
Refilling the feeder should be easy and stress-free—not a chore. With most feeders, it’s a matter of twisting or unscrewing the top, adding feed, and then screwing it back on. Still, some may have a different method for adding new seeds. Ensure you know how to get into the feeder and that it is easy enough because if it’s too complicated or difficult, you may find that you avoid adding more food.
Squirrels can be a nuisance if you have bird feeders, and they are incredibly talented at being able to weasel their way in. Some bird feeders have spring-loaded feeding doors that will slide shut if they detect the weight of a squirrel. There are even some that have a motorized wheel that will throw the squirrel off the feeder.
Motorized devices do need charging or batteries, while spring-loaded devices rely on the integrity of the spring. Really cunning squirrels can sometimes still find a way through these mechanisms, though.
Related Read: 10 Best Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeders: Reviews & Top Picks
You can feed birds with your feeder at any time of year unless you live in bear country, in which case you should stop feeding them in the summer. Leaving the feeders out during winter means that they will be subjected to wet and windy conditions, so they must be durable. Look for feeders made from high-quality and durable materials to ensure that they have the best chance of lasting through the year.
Cardinals are intriguing, beautiful birds, and they can be seen in gardens and yards throughout the year. If you are specifically looking to encourage and feed cardinals in your garden, you can invest in a cardinal feeder like the Droll Yankees New Generation Sunflower Feeder. It is reasonably priced and is designed specifically for sunflower seeds, which is one of the cardinal’s favorite foods.
The North States Large Clear Choice Window Bird Feeder only costs a little less than the Droll Yankees feeder, but it is designed to affix to your window, and its clear design means that you can watch the stunning bird feeding. All of these bird feeders are perfect for attracting these beautiful, bright red birds to your property.
Featured Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay
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Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.
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