Do Cardinals Use Birdhouses or Nesting Boxes?

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Cardinals are a much beloved backyard visitor. As one of the most popular feathered guests, it would make sense that you are looking to attract these bright and colorful birds.

A question that is asked often is, “Do cardinals use birdhouses or nesting boxes?”

The short answer is, no.

Cardinals prefer a natural nesting environment for their young and build their nests in trees or shrub thickets. Dense plant life provides the shelter they are looking for as well as their ideal nesting locations.

With that being said, do not let this deter you from creating an environment suitable for these winged visitors.

Here are three tips for encouraging cardinals to visit your yard:


  • Cardinals love safflower seeds, black oil sunflowers seeds, and even enjoy crushed peanuts, cracked corn, and berries. Be sure to include these favorites and you are sure to have a cardinal visiting your yard soon.


  • Cardinals are a sturdy bird and are said to equal the weight of 9 U.S. nickels or 1.5 ounces. As such, a sturdy platform feeder that can easily hold the weight of this heavier bird type is best so that they can feel secure and supported while feeding.


  • Just like their human counterparts, water is fundamental to a cardinal’s survival. They need a consistent source of fresh water to drink and bathe in even during the winter months as cardinals stay in the same location year round. Providing a bird bath is paramount to ensuring that a cardinal chooses to frequent your yard over the long term. Similar to a cardinal’s need for a sturdy bird feeder, they will need the same for a suitable bird bath. Also, be sure the bird bath is the proper depth–ideally 2 to 3 inches at the deepest point. Lastly, be sure that the water is changed frequently to prevent icing over during the winter months and the buildup of algae, dirt, and other residues.

Follow these simple tips and you are sure to have these much loved visitors frequenting your yard for years to come!

Enjoy and Happy Birding!