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Best Cardinal Bird Feeders & Seeds

Cardinal bird feeders and feed

Cardinals are some of the best of backyard birds. Bright red with jet-black highlights and a fancy crest, what’s not to love about these beautiful birds!

Bird feeders are one of the easiest ways to bring more cardinals into the backyard. But which cardinal feeder is the best? Which seeds to choose?

See this article to learn how to pick the best cardinal bird feeders for better backyard birding!


What’s The Right Feeder For Cardinals?

Nothing miracle – the perfect feeder for cardinals is one that makes it easy for them to feed.

With that in mind, tube feeders and other small bird feeders are not the best option for Northern Cardinals. Although they are great for chickadees and other small birds, the perches and feeding ports can be a bit small for cardinals.

Northern Cardinals will try to feed, but it’s so uncomfortable that they usually opt for easier feeding situations. For that reason, the best cardinal feeders tend to be open platform feeders.

The larger and more open area for perching makes it much easier for cardinals and other fair-sized songbirds to feed comfortably.

Although cardinals can pick seeds from the ground, it’s much better (and safer for the birds) to use a hanging feeder. Install it at least four feet above the ground and eight feet from branches, and cardinals won’t have to worry about cats and squirrels.

Learn more: How to attract cardinals?

Cardinals also prefer feeders installed in certain spots, especially places where they can easily fly to cover. To keep cardinals happy, put the feeder within at least 10 or 15 feet of dense bushes and shrubs.

If you don’t have shrubbery, plant several berry-producing bushes. Cardinals and other birds will love them! is reader-supported. If you click through the links we provide, we may earn a commission.

Best Cardinal Feeders

Our Top Pick: Nature Anywhere Premium Clear Window Bird Feeder

Nature Anywhere Transparent Acrylic Window Bird Feeders for Outdoors - Enhanced Suction Grip, Bird Watching for Cats, Easy-to-Clean, Outdoor Birdhouse Feeder

This clear cardinal feeder is made of thick plastic and is shaped like a small open house with a roof. It is 10 inches tall and 10 inches wide, and has a plastic perch just inside the feeder. Birds eat from two fairly small feeding trays.

There are separate seed trays that can be filled with different types of food, like mealworms or cracked corn. This would be a great way to bring in more variety, including species like orioles, titmice and maybe even warblers. However, the small feeding area limits it to just one or two birds at a time.

Unlike other hanging or pole bird feeders, this lightweight feeder can be attached to a window, offering versatile placement and incredible views.

This makes for close and easy viewing, but if placed near a ledge or deck, cats and squirrels can reach it. Although no reviews have mentioned birds flying into the window, it seems like this could also be an issue.

See on Amazon


Squirrel Proof Cardinal Feeder

Bird Feeder for Outside Hanging Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders Metal Wild Bird Feeder Retractable Outdoor Feeder with 6 Perches for Cardinal, Finch, Chickadee, Bluebirds etc(Red)

This red, metal bird feeder has a sturdy metal construction to hold 4.4 pounds of birdseed, six perches, and a strong metal roof. It’s shaped a bit like a small house and is 20 inches high and 11 inches long. Although it can’t be placed on a pole, this feeder can be easily hung from a hook or branch.

There is enough space for smaller and bigger birds, and it can easily hold the weight of a cardinal.

The strong metal structure and diamond-shaped mesh surface protect seeds from squirrel damage, and the strong roof also adds some security, making it pretty much squirrel-proof. Additionally, the metal barring makes clinging to the feeder easier for your backyard birds. And it’s perfect for perching birds as well!

You’ll be happy to know that rusting will not be a problem, as this cardinal feeder has been treated for rust resistance beforehand. The cardinal feeder has some built-in drainage holes to keep seeds fresh for longer and prevent mildew.

This feeder is certainly good for feeding birds and can accommodate birds as small as goldfinches and species as large as Northern Cardinals and bigger birds.

See on Amazon


Kingsyard Adjustable Platform Bird Feeder

Kingsyard Adjustable Platform Bird Feeder for Outdoors Hanging, Metal Tray Bird Feeder with Dome Top, Attract Bluebirds Cardinals Goldfinches (Green)

This simple yet durable platform feeder is a good fit for cardinals. It has a nice open circular seed tray where they can perch and easily feed on sunflowers and other seeds.

This tray is connected by a metal pole in the middle to a clear plastic dome and a hanging hook. The large overhang of the dome can help protect the food from the elements (and avoid mold) and protect birds from predators a bit.

This 360-degree seed tray is easily accessible, making it a perfect landing place for a wide variety of your favorite bird species – including the vibrant male cardinals.

The collapsible design and open nature of this feeder add to the convenience of cleaning and refilling. To limit access to birdseed or cover them during rough weather, the height of the dome from the feeding tray can be quickly and easily adjusted.

Although the dome can help keep squirrels away, if they can reach the cardinal feeder, they might still be able to jump onto the tray. However, this is easily solved by hanging the feeder far enough from places where they can leap from.

See on Amazon


Best Seeds for Cardinals

Our Top Pick: Wagner’s Cardinal Blend Wild Bird Food

Wagner's 62032 Cardinal Blend Wild Bird Food, 6-Pound Bag

This birdseed blend includes of two of the main types of seeds loved by Northern Cardinals; Black Oil Sunflower and Safflower. This all-natural mix might also include some Striped Sunflowers and comes in a six-pound bag.

Related: What kinds of seeds do birds eat?

True to its name, this blend is especially good for Northern Cardinals. Their strong beaks are very much suited for cracking open tough Safflower seeds, and the oils in the Black Sunflower provide them with important nutrients.

See on Amazon


Audubon Park Cardinal Blend Wild Bird Food

Audubon Park Cardinal Blend Wild Bird Food, Cardinal Bird Seed for Outside Feeders, 4-Pound Bag

This bag of quality bird seed includes four pounds of Safflower and Black oil Sunflower seeds. Unlike some other products, it doesn’t include any extra filler seeds and is completely natural.

The seeds are suited for all sorts of feeders and are the perfect blend for Northern Cardinals. Other birds will also eat them, although Safflowers are especially good for cardinals, grosbeaks, and other birds with strong beaks. Tufted Titmouse, Purple Finches, and various other small birds will also like it.

See on Amazon


Kaytee Wild Bird Gourmet Seed Cake

Kaytee Wild Bird Gourmet Seed Cake For Cardinals, Chickadees, Juncos, Titmice, Woodpeckers and More, 2 Pounds

This birdseed “cake” is a two-pound mix of seeds, nuts, honey, gelatin, and glycerin. Despite the extra ingredients that help hold the seeds together, the rest of this seed cake is completely natural.

The seeds and nuts that make up the cake are Black Oil Sunflower, Millet, Safflower, and Peanuts. Birds love them, cardinals included. However, this product might be more suited for specific feeders that can hold seed cakes.

See on Amazon


Related: What does a cardinal sound like?

About the Author

Patrick O'Donnell

Patrick O'Donnell has been focused on all things avian since the age of 7. Since then, he has helped with ornithological field work in the USA and Peru, and has guided many birding tours, especially in Costa Rica. He develops birding apps for BirdingFieldGuides and loves to write about birds, especially in his adopted country of Costa Rica.

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Vande Kolk Calvin

Friday 29th of December 2023

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