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Male Cardinal Shaking

Submit an Entry: Your Northern Cardinal Photos

By avianatic

Male Cardinal Shaking

Male Northern Cardinal Shakes Snow Off Head

When did you take this photo?

January 29, 2011

Where did you take this photo?

During the snowstorm of January 29 in southeastern Massachusetts, this male northern cardinal visited my backyard deck/feeding area where I offer a range of seeds/nuts for the feathered (and furry) visitors.

My backyard is actually a wetland habitat nestled between a townhouse complex and a small industrial park. Snags, protective cover and mature trees dominate.

How do you attract northern cardinals to your backyard?

I provide a variety of perches and food items for a wide range of birds. Because northern cardinals seem to prefer flat surfaces, I use my attached deck as a sort of "platform" feeder where I place loose nuts, seeds and special treats (meal worms!).

The bird pictured in this photo is perching on a large piece of driftwood that serves as a perch and as a natural feeder. I'll mix up a concoction of meal worms, suet, peanut butter, sunflower seeds and nuts and either spread it along a small area of the old branch or cram it into parts of the decayed wood.

Tips and Tricks

  • Because northern cardinals seem to prefer to dine late in the day, I'll toss out a few handfuls of peanuts as dusk approaches, which gives them a chance to feed on their favorite foods with less competition from other birds.
  • During the winter, I make it a point to provide food for the birds in small "batches" throughout the day. This makes it possible to put the birds on a sort of "schedule" so I can plan my photos based on the time of day and expected activity.
  • I usually shoot from inside my house, using a handmade sort of photo blind I've attached to the sliders leading out to my deck.

Melissa Mayntz, About.com Birding/Wild Birds, says:

It's a great idea to refill feeders and feeding areas throughout the day, since different birds will have different schedules and feeding preferences. This gives all the birds an opportunity for the best foods without as much competition.

See the complete northern cardinal profile.

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