Cardinals are one of the most commonly seen birds in backyards at the Eastern half of the United States. A specie that has been named after the Cardinals of the Catholic Church who wear red robes, its red plumage never fails to catch the attention of people. However, regular man-made birdhouses which are usually enclosed structures may not be attractive to this specie. A birdhouse variation known as the platform is a better alternative to offer.
It is necessary to know its nature to understand why this is so. Cardinals mate for life and their most preferred breeding habitat includes shrubby areas, thickets or areas with a very dense understory. These areas can either be found in urban, suburban or open woodlands. It also shows preference for the edges of woods, hedgerows and vegetation around houses.
The nests of Cardinals are cup-sized and constructed from plant stems, twigs, bark strips and other plant materials. Since platforms are open on all four sides, they can easily accommodate the nest. The platform has corner posts that will ably support the roof, which would in turn offer protection to the nesting birds. Mounting, usually near the ground, is done on walls behind shrubbery, under eaves and on fence lines covered with vines. Generally, the height will not go over four feet above the ground.
One of the most effective ways of luring Cardinals to one’s backyard is to plant bushes. They are especially fond of multi-flora rose. They are also excellent birdfeeder guests.
Cardinals have cone-shaped bills that are well adapted to eating all sorts of seeds. This bird has a varied diet of fruits, seeds and insects in the wild. Backyard feeders, specifically platform feeders will attract them when sunflower seeds are cracked corn are offered. Planting some shrubs with berries can also encourage then to nest and raise their young.
The Cardinal measures approximately 8 inches long. The average weight of an adult Cardinal is 42 to 48 grams. The female usually lays from 3 to 4 eggs. It is a good thing to consider these facts when constructing platforms.
This specie has benefited much from human habitation and supplemental food made available at bird feeders. The large number of humans who feed cardinals as well as other seed eating birds through their backyard bird feeders has a part in the increase in its population. They are not migratory but rather year-round residents throughout their range. They can be quite territorial during the breeding season.
Cardinals usually raise two broods a year, one beginning around March and the second in late May to July. They are socially monogamous. Breeding pairs may remain together year-round or may breed together for several seasons.
There are many reasons why one would want to have his/her backyard be graced with the presence of Cardinals. The most obvious one is to have the chance to see for oneself, the beauty of this particular bird specie. Humans also benefit from them as they facilitate the dispersal of seeds for some plants and perform an important function on controlling pest population. Best of all, there is no known adverse effect of Cardinals to humans.