Cardinal Bird Feeder Plans, cardinal bird feeders, suet feeder, tray feeder, hopper feeder, sunflower seed, nuts, fruit

Cardinal Bird Feeder Plans

Cardinals Have Fascinating Eating Patterns

Cardinals are among the easiest birds to notice with their bright red outfits that always bring a pleasant sight to any area. At times they can look formally dressed when a black mask complements their red coating. The bright-colored designs on a cardinal may even remind you of a brightly uniformed guard outside of a palace. So it’s usually a pleasant view and enjoyable surprise when you see these birds at your feeder.

You can see cardinals year round in the Midwest, East and parts of the Southwest. Cardinals exhibit some interesting feeding patterns. You might see them eating alone, in pairs or in a group with other cardinals. The birds will often gather together in winter months. You can see them searching together for food in trees, on bushes, along the road or in your yard. Cardinals don’t like other birds trying to snatch their food. The blue jay has a tough time dealing with cardinals, which are willing to fight off the aggressive bird when it comes to mealtime.

If you’re lucky enough to catch a glimpse of cardinals during mating season, you can see some fascinating rituals involving sharing of food. The female will depend on the male for supplying her with food when food is available. The female crouches down next to the male and lowers her wings, opening her beak as if to beg for a crumb. The male automatically reacts by filling her waiting beak with a piece of food. These chauvinistic tendencies also transform into aggression if another male happens by. Male cardinals become extremely possessive and protective during the mating season.

Some of the foods cardinals enjoy include apples, baked goods, corn and shelled or chopped peanuts. You can also attract them with feeders that include ground or chopped suet, sunflower seeds and safflower seeds. These birds are attracted to a variety of feeders depending on the foods. Use seeds, fruit, suet or nuts for tray feeders. Seeds work well in hopper feeders while seeds or nuts satisfy them in window feeders. Suet in suet feeders will bring in cardinals as well.

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Cardinal Mates

Because of this varied diet, the cardinal can be lured using a number of different types of bird feeder plans; the tray or platform bird feeder, the suet bird feeder, and the hopper bird feeder.  My favorite though is the combo bird feeder which is a tray-hopper-suet bird feeder all in one.

You might also attract the attention of a cardinal by whistling back to it. Cardinals enjoy whistling loving sounds that you can sometimes imitate. If you try to repeat a short tune yourself, you might notice the cardinal stopping and looking around to find the source of the sound, possibly believing it is from another bird.

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The Coopers Hawk — A Common Enemy of Backyard Birds

Protection From Birds of Prey Such As Hawks

As you know, my favorite kind of bird feeder is what is called the tray feeder. Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks to the tray bird feeder plans which include exposing our favorite little backyard friends to the birds of prey like hawks,which may be looking for a treat. Tray feeders also expose the food on the tray to the weather elements which can quickly ruin the food for the birds. And if that weren’t enough, because the tray feeder is totally exposed, squirrels and other pests can also dine on the food you put out for your birds.

Despite all of this, I still love using tray bird feeders because it is so much easier to enjoy the birds while they are feeding.  Sometimes in order to escape the weather as best I can, I will put a little lean-to type roof or a little roof on poles on my tray feeders.  Bear with me while I explain these things to you, because the fact is the simple things I use, and what I’m going to describe next, aren’t really the prettiest architecturally designed bird feeders you’ll ever see.  But they may keep your birds safe. My lean-to roof, for instance, is just a piece of plywood that I screwed to the corners of the tray. Now, I like to use the lean-to with wing nuts whenever I can, because I can take things apart easily when I need to thoroughly clean the bird feeder. Needless to say, it’s very pretty simple for me to put the roof back on using the wing nuts. This next little adaptation is one I think you will find quite interesting though.Squirrel Proofing and Protecting Your Backyard Friends Using Wire Fencing

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Wire enamel coated fencing which has a grid 1 ½ in. square
  • Wire cutters
  • Work gloves
  • Scrap lumber which is 6 inches wide for bending your wire
  • A tray bird feeder made like a box with no top

Here’s what you do:

    1. Carefully measure the inside of your tray feeder.  Be precise.
    2. Go to the store and buy fencing in a size that will give you a piece that is at least 12 inches larger on each side than the measurements you took of the floor of your tray bird feeder. For instance, if the tray of your feeder floor was 18” x 24”, the amount of fencing you will need will be 30” x 36”. To save yourself extra work, and maybe your hands, ask the store clerk to cut the piece of fencing you purchase to your specifications. Most stores will do this for free, or for a very nominal charge.
    3. As pictured, take your wire cutters and cut so that you can fold 6 inches of wire at a right angle to your main piece of fencing. This 6 inches of wire around the entire tray will become the sides of your feeder. In fact, you may want to mark the center of your wire fencing with the exact measurements of the floor of the feed tray. A fine point indelible marker would make this job easy. You will make an identical 6 inch fold and cut on the opposite side of the wire as well. This will create two sides once folded and leave you with the other two sides having an overlap in length which will become the support in the corners of the tray.


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Step1—Making the Initial Cuts In the Wire

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Step 2 – Folding The Wire Fencing to Form Corners


  1. Now you are ready to make the folds in the wire fencing which will complete your project. While wearing your heavy duty
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    Finished Tray Feeder Top With Wire Protection

    gloves, carefully bend the wire to form a box shape while folding the excess wire at two ends around the signs you have already formed. To finish those corners, use your pliers to bend the wire in an exacting way. See the picture below.

  2. Using either twist ties, wire, or plastic ties, attaching your fold over from the longer side to the sides created which areshorter.  Do this for all four corners. You should now have a wire box which is a mirror image of the inside of the feeder tray. See the picture below next.
  3. The last and final step in this process is to press your wire cover into place on your tray feeder. It should fit snugly inside the tray against its sides. If you have used the size fencing recommended, the openings will be large enough for the smaller birds, but will prevent larger birds like Jays and starlings from getting to the food. This cover will also prevent squirrels from getting to the food as well.

On a final note, if your fencing is sturdy, it may just keep a hungry hawk away from one of your backyard friends too. Hope you enjoy this project . . . .   Rose


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Male Cardinal

Three Different Types of Bird Feeder Plans Will Satisfy the Cardinals’ Varied Diet

Well, it is my favorite time of the year and my favorite birds are home again on my back porch as though they own the place.  Sadly, though, this year my other little family is either hiding or not here.  I imagine it is the latter.  Most of you who visit here know my favorite bird is the cardinal.  I love their personality, the way the mates stay together, and as a mother I can identify when mama cardinal runs frantically around looking for food to bring back to the squawkers in the nest.

Cardinals certainly have their favorite food, just like other birds, but they will generally eat whatever you feed them which is why I thought you would enjoy my favorite bird feeder too.  This article has been brought back out and dusted off because it is timeless just like the beautiful cardinal, and hopefully this three-in-one feeder will intrigue you as it does me.

Hope you enjoy this update…..


Interestingly, the Northern Cardinal, originated in the southeastern part of the United States. The bird has slowly migrated during the twentieth century as far north as southern Canada, and as far west as Texas.  As a child, I always thought the cardinals went home to the north after spending a

Bird Feeder Plans with two or more ways birds can feed offer the backyard birder the oppoortunity to attract different species of birds.

Picture from the Site

winter with us in sunny Florida.  Only later as I developed my keen love for backyard birding, did I learn differently.  Not only does the cardinal stay in one area all year long with his mate, they also have a varied diet making three different types of bird feeder plans just perfect.

Personally, I like to kill two birds with one stone (JUST KIDDING!!) and use some of my favorite combination bird feeder plans to make a feeder that serves several different types of bird feed and  hopefully a more varied assortment of backyard birds.  The picture above and to the right is an example of such a feeder.

The Snack Shop feeder is both a hopper bird feeder and a tray bird feeder.  Additionally, if you add a standard suet cage or rack at either or both ends of bird feeder plans like those used to make the snack shop, you will have three types of feeders in one.

Bird Feeder Plans like these are just right for building cardinal bird feeders.

In the lower left is a picture of a bird feeder which can be made from one of the many sets of bird feeder plans and birdhouse plans from our sponsors.  As you can see it is a standard hopper style feeder to accommodate the cardinals love for black oil sunflower seeds (with their hulls), a small tray for fruits, berries, nuts, or old bread you may have on hand.  Again, simply add a suet cage to the other side of this feeder and you’ll have three feeders in one for cardinals and friends.

Bird Feeder Plans which will satisfy the cardinals and attract other birds as well.

Click on me to visit Ted’s Plans

You will become a cardinal lover. They are beautiful birds, and if they have what they need, they will stay in your yard for a very, very long time.  In the back of our house is a very deep thicket of cabbage palms, oaks, and underbrush in which the birds nest and live.   Just inside the deep thicket are trees into which they fly daily roosting proudly for all to see.

They have become so accustomed to us, they will even fly onto my covered porch for a visit.  They sing to one another and I believe we must have two families this year, because I frequently see two full grown females in close proximity to one another.  It looks like another set of bird feeder plans for cardinals may be in order!