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.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

How to attract cardinals

I think it was a very good year for cardinals. I'm basing that observation on all the little brown juvenile cardinals that are showing up alone at my feeders! Young Northern Cardinals have ashy brown feathers and black bills rather than the orange-red of the adults. They change gradually to their adult coloration three to four months after hatching.

If you can attract these newly independent cardinals to your yard now, they may hook up with other youngsters and stay in your territory all winter. Young cardinals usually pull away from their parents about forty days after leaving the nest. Some bird species like the American Robins and Eastern Bluebirds stay in family groups until the next breeding season and some bird species like the cardinals and chickadees have young that disperse a few weeks after they've fledged from the nest.

The young that disperse early have a steep learning curve. For example they have to find a new area to forage away from their natal territory to prevent inbreeding. They have to find enough food to sustain them through a fall feather molt. And they have to survive natural predators and human obstacles.

Studies reveal that newly independent young birds usually lose weight because they forage less efficiently than adults. Right now they are looking for a lot of weed seeds, fruits, nuts and berries in the wild. At the feeders you can provide highly nutritious and protein packed foods like sunflower and safflower seeds as well as peanuts. At my feeders the Wild Birds Unlimited No-mess blend is very popular along with the Safflower Cylinders.

Related Articles:
Identifying baby chickadees http://baby-chickadees.html
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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