About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Most Northern Cardinals live only 2 to 4 years

Photo by Carterse
Winter is the time when high fat foods become more critical in a bird’s diet. Every night up to three-quarters of a bird’s fat reserves are used up; reserves that must be replenished the next day. When fat reserves are depleted, protein — mostly scavenged from muscle tissue — is depleted to keep up with energy needs.

Northern Cardinals are always the first and last to visit the feeders. You may have also noticed that the number of cardinals feeding together rises as the temperature falls. A flock searching for food is far more successful than just one or two birds, so pairs join up to forage together. This strategy is useful in a season that requires more energy to survive. It's also safer to spend time with a flock, because that means more eyes on alert for predators.

About 40% of adult cardinals die each year. Most die during the winter when food supplies are low. Death may not be due to starvation but a weakened immune system or being forced to search for food in more open areas where birds of prey and other predators can kill them.

Cardinal populations with access to a feeding station may be in better condition and more likely to survive the winter than cardinals without access. Cardinals prefer to feed on the ground so if you can "raise the ground" by feeding cardinals on tray feeders, hopper feeders, seed cylinder feeders or any feeder that gives them a comfortable feeding position. Their favorite food is sunflower, nuts, safflower and fruit. Wild Birds Unlimited has a wide variety of cardinal friendly feeders.
 

Source: Wild Bird Guides-Northern Cardinal by Gary Ritchison

Related Articles:
Northern Cardinal Fun Facts http://bit.ly/twE6NV
How the Northern Cardinal bird was named http://bit.ly/tSKZYs
Cardinal Bird Feeders Made in the USA: http://bit.ly/qXJPFM
How to Attract Cardinals: http://bit.ly/pjh7mO
What can I feed the cardinals to make them redder? http://bit.ly/rAArXw
What are the different types of cardinal birds? http://goo.gl/CUI43

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