Since I opened the backyard buffet I have been trying to attract Cardinals. Sure, there are tons of cute titmice and chickadees, but that red bird caught my eye the very first time I visited the property. I knew they were in the woods and had even used my iPhone birding app to call them forth in vain attempts to capture them with my camera. I learned early on that they didn’t care for a typical pegged feeder, they need to either feed on the ground or on a larger flat surface.
This summer I discovered the pottery of Julie Windler at the Norberta Philbrook Gallery – I wrote a post about it here. I loved the glazes and they were perfect for chickadees. I keep one filled with suet and one filled with seed on the buffet.
Julie mentioned hoping to see a shot of a cardinal at one of my feeders and I gave her a few parameters of what I thought they would need to feed. I have been seeing them on the patio or feeding in a pie plate I put out on a table. Julie said she could make me something that would work. It’s very simple, it’s a small plate with three holes to suspend it from with drain holes so that the seed stays dry after a rain. It was a little small so I was skeptical. Right off the bat the titmice loved it.
Today I filled it with songbird food – a mix of seed, fruit and nuts – it actually looks pretty tasty. I settled in with my camera hoping to get a shot or two of something feeding at the new addition. I heard the distinctive sound of larger wings flapping while I was focused on a titmouse feeding nearby. Without moving I looked up and found my first customer at the new station. I actually saw 4 cards at once, but focused on just this pair.
This new feeder really classes up the joint.
Get your feet off our food, you moron! I can’t take you anywhere!
Cardinals, in addition to being snobs, are terrifically expressive. The red against any winter backdrop always excites us when they cue up on the bare limbs of the Chinese Pistache to take their turn at the feeder. They seem to be the same ones year after year, even though we know they aren’t the same ones, there is always a “Big Daddy”, a “Geronimo”, a “Sassy Mama”, and the “Little Peeps” splashing in the fountain. Nice captures!!
Thanks! They really are expressive – and sloppy eaters. I am hoping that they are lured into the buffet when the snow comes. Mine are hanging out in the red bud and crepe myrtle – but if they want to perch a bit further they hang in my bamboo – I would love to get a shot of them in the bamboo. I have thought I was seeing the same 2-3 birds until yesterday – there were about 7-8 at one time feeding with the juncos. I have never seen them in water yet – maybe someday:)
Gorgeous shots! I have been attracting a few lately, but those darn squirrels literally sit there and chomp all day! I have to look for the safflower seeds and see what happens. The squirrels have knocked over one feeder and now it’s broken, and they also knocked down the suet feeder and ate that as well. I like squirrels, but they are getting a little out of hand, LOL!
Thanks! They make baffles – large convex discs that go on the hangers – that keep squirrels off feeders. I like that feeder in the YouTube video too. My terriers keep my feeders free of squirrels:)
Lots of colour in those birds. I agree that the captions are great.
Thanks Lyle – they are about as colorful as we get here in the Ozarks.
Fantastic photos of fantastic birds – love the captions!
I’m inspired by your bird conversations 🙂
Wonderful images of those cute red birds – they must be easy to see in the foliage (let alone when they come over to your feeding trays).
Hope that brilliant red doesn’t mean they fall prey to bigger birds who can see then easily.
Thanks Vicky. The females really blend in – the males feed them when they roost. They have a gorgeous song.
These are spectacular! congratulations on figuring out what they want. I love cardinals too, a couple live on the other side of my back yard wall and they come to bath in my waterfall but I’ve never been able to get a photo of them. This is a great set of wonderful shots, you can even see the crumbs on their beaks, fantastic!
Thanks – They are kind of camera shy. They seem to be sloppy eaters as well 🙂
they can’t lick their lips.
Wonderful pics! My favorite bird! Like Diana I have yet to see one here in Alberta. My mom in Wisconsin has them all the time! I haven’t seen one here since I’ve been here, well not in my backyard anyway. The pottery and the birds make a gorgeous picture.
Thanks – I’m glad to finally see them up in the air feeding. Wisconsin is about as far both as the map says they go. I love their song too.
yeah, the song, I almost forgot what it sounds like. It’s really nice. When I lived in Texas they have Mockingbirds, I would usually have to look to see who was singing, a cardinal or a mockingbird. Could be either. They are also a beautiful bird but in a much less ‘flashy’ way.
I have never seen one of those yet. I like the female cards – their color in winter is just gorgeous in that less flashy way:)
Cardinals are beautiful birds. I used to see them in Quebec all the time but I have never seen one here in Alberta.
It looks like you are outside of their range – they don’t make it into any of the Northwest in the states either. I never saw one before I moved here.
That makes senses, too bad though….
It is too bad – you deserve some cardinals in your hood 🙂
The pottery is beautiful!!!! The birds are a gift! Great shots ~ 🙂
They really are – I could sit there and shoot them for hours.
Jealous….but glad for YOU!
Wonderful pictures, as always. But our cardinals love our pegged feeders — even the one that is attached to our window feeder (stuck on there). They love safflower seeds, which squirrels don’t like. A win-win.
Thanks! I’ve been told as winter comes they will be less discriminating. They have never even lit on my regular seed feeders. I would love to get shots of them under the eaves of the one that looks like a house. They mostly eat what falls on the patio. Are your pegged ones very large?
We have always had them here in VA and in CT too. They come to all sorts of feeders. We have a Droll Yankee Squirrel proof thaqt the cardinals love http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NocRG3r2zBw (We really aren’t mean — the squirrels don’t spin for long before they jump off.
But the feeder we have at the window is a cheapo, light weight one with pegs that is attached to a suction cup. They look into our windows, we look out at them. But they LOVE safflower and not many other birds do.
That’s hysterical – not in a mean way:) My terriers keep the squirrels away so far. I think most of my feeders are too small and the cards have no interest in suet so far. I need to find some safflower. I like the idea of a window one too – the cards roost in my crepe myrtle near the living room and peek in.
We have crepe myrtle near our perch, too. They love it. Trees designed for birds. I would guess our little window feeder is no more than 2.5 to 3 inches in diameter.
They do seem designed for birds – the hummers nested in it too. The cards love the redbuds too. I love the flowers:) I will see of I can find one of those feeders.
My hummers love it too. So do the finches and everybody else.
The only downside is that it blocks my satellite signal in the summer 🙂
Maybe you need to relocate the dish???
Ha – living in the woods limits your options – I have been hesitant to prune my beloved myrtle
We have two. One year as my husband was pruning the one on the left he fell off the ladder. While he didn’t hurt himself, he was reluctant to climb back up to prune the one on the right. “I know,” I said in the only way I could think of to save his pride and his neck, “Let’s do a science experiment and see which grows better!” A science experiment WAS conducted. The trees are now identical. No broken necks were required.
LOL – I have been told I could cut it all the way back and it would be fine, but that would leave the cards out of a home. Mine is one of the few things that did not grow here on it’s own.
You could cut it back a bit in the spring — it’ll grow but a little less bushy.
It just occurred to me that I am a plant killer. Pay no attention to the woman on the other end of that computer …
Haha – I have a brown thumb – I have killed 5 wisteria and they are supposed to be indestructible.
Better leave the tree alone then!
Good advice 🙂
Oh, and the Droll Yankee is truly droll. Once my husband had to gently push a squirrel off because he wouldn’t let go. Otherwise they drop off. But it is hilarious to watch. Damn don’t let the ASPCA know!
LOL – I am not a fan of squirrels – they broke into my shop and destroyed my wiring. A spin cycle doesn’t seem so terrible.
Nasty. They got into our attic crawl space and ate a hole in the bedroom ceiling. So yeah, an occasional spin cycle is fine.