Bird lovers find almost every kind of bird interesting. There are about 10, 000 species of birds all over the world. Majority of this figure can be domesticated, and these birds are known to make wonderful pets. And as many of these birds enjoy close contact, those who have decided to take one or more of these birds as pets have enjoyed the company of these interesting, social and cuddly creatures. And there are those that are considered wild birds and are not intended to be kept as pets, including cardinals. But as many of these birds are migratory and might be seen flying over some gardens when the breeding season comes, you might want to find some information on caring for cardinals. This post might just be of help.
Fast Facts About Cardinals
There are a number of interesting facts that make many bird enthusiasts prefer cardinals for a pet than other birds. These birds are more than just beautiful feathers after all.
- One of the interesting facts about cardinals is their intelligence. A good display of such features is the fact that these birds are noted to visit feeders first and last. Such a behavior has been predicted to be due to the perceived competition between those times. Ornithologists describe competition during these times to be lower than any other times of the day.
- There are three true species of these birds — Vermillion, Northern and Desert Cardial. There is a forth species, however, that is also considered a cardinal but is not actually a part of genus Cardinalis and this is the Red Crested Cardinal. Of these types of cardinals, the Northern Cardinal is noted to be the most popular.
- There is a total of 19 known subspecies of Northern Cardinals, and they are usually identifiable by their colors. The average life span of these birds is about three years. Some can even live for up to about 13 to 15 years. Genus Cardinalis include the following family: Cardinals, Grosbeaks and Buntings.
- During the cold season, the Northern Cardinals flock together to look for food. In contrast with many other songbirds, the Northern Cardinals are mostly non-migratory. They opt to overwinter in their chosen spring/summer habitat.
- Northern Cardinals are monogamous and would be seen together with its female throughout the year.
- Northern Cardinals shed old feathers at least once a year. During this period, you will notice your feathered friend to be losing its feathers and within a couple of weeks will be showing off the dark grey or black skin on its head.
- Both male and female cardinals sing. The females are noted to have more complex songs than the males, however.
Caring for Cardinals
If you would like to wake up to the singing of these stunning birds, you need to have the best feeder for cardinals stationed where they may see, feed and rest for a while.
You will need to create an appropriate habitat where these birds may have access to lots of food, water, as well as shelter. You will need at least one bird feeder (add more feeders if you would like even more of these wild birds to flying in and out of your garden), a bird bath (again, you can have more than one –the more the merrier!), and a number of areas where these birds can take for cover or nesting. It is best to avoid using reflecting surfaces in your yard as cardinals often attempt to attack their own reflection in an effort to protect their territory. It is also wise to keep your pets away from the bird feeders, birdbath and other areas where birds can rest.
Unlike other birds, cardinals cannot change their direction immediately, so you need have a feeder that is big enough for these birds to land on without any difficulty. Have the feeder/s placed about 5-6 feet above the ground and near trees or shrubs. Look for a feeder that is sturdy enough and with a good-sized open perching area.
Have bird baths that have depths of about 2 to 3 inches at their deepest points. The birds will use these bird baths to drink and take a bath. Replace the water in these bird baths a few times every week. During colder seasons, it is a good idea to have a heated bird bath or have an immersion heater into the regular birdbath.
Cardinals enjoy a variety of foods, including the following: fruit, grains, seeds, elm tree blossoms and bark, insects and saps. They also enjoy insects, such as snails, grasshoppers, moths, spiders and cicadas.
These birds also enjoy large seeds, as well as crushed peanuts, cracked corn, and berries. Safflower seeds and white milo are among the favorites of Northern Cardinals.
Caring of cardinals is easy if you have the necessary items placed made available at the right places. Soon enough you will find many of these birds flying around your garden.