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Why Have My Cardinals Disappeared?

Cardinals are beautiful and interesting birds and it’s frustrating if you are used to enjoying the view of the cardinals. And now suddenly you notice they are not around like they used to be.

It could get frustrating. As keeping the cardinals around is not only about keeping the property clean and ideal as much as possible. It’s also about making the places as comfortable as possible for cardinals.

It’s not always the decoration of your yard that actually matters, in fact, it has everything other than that. Still confused about why the Cardinals left the yard.

There are plenty of reasons and these guides will describe them all in depth to you. So that you can observe these red-hot cardinals even on those summer days when they are seen less than usual. 

Why Have My Cardinals Disappeared?

Why Have My Cardinals Disappeared?

Here are the reasons why cardinals could disappear from your backyard :

Feeders are used less in the summer

If you have noticed your cardinal has disappeared during summer then they might be finding food somewhere else which is very simple.

During summer cardinals skip the feeders to hunt insects or gather berries.  They usually use feeders during winter when the food is scarce and they can’t find food. 

Food or Birdseed in the Feeder is Not Fresh 

Even Though birds are not blessed with a great sense of smell like dogs. They still can understand when the food in the feeder is old and moldy.

So, if you have left your seeds out for too long and they have got exposed to rain, snow, or humidity then the seeds have lost their freshness. Cardinals will not feed on stale moldy seeds and will stop coming to the feeders. 

So, if you notice stale seeds, clean the feeder and replace them with fresh ones. Replacing the food may seem like wasting food to you but it’s necessary if you want birds to keep on coming to your feeder.

To avoid wastage of food, notice how much your cardinals feed and understand. Even if you need to fill the feeder only halfway do so. 

You Have Changed the Feeders of Your Cardinal and They Are Not Cardinal Friendly 

You Have Changed the Feeders of Your Cardinal and They Are Not Cardinal Friendly

Did you change your feeders recently? Then the reason, why you are not seeing any cardinals any longer in your yard, is because of that.

If your feeders are with small perches then they are not ideal for cardinals as they cannot twist their body while feeding. Feeders with small perches are ideal for other big songbirds. 

On the other hand, for cardinals you will either need a tray feeder or hopper feeder that comes with large perches for cardinals to feed.

If you have a tray feeder or a hopper feeder then it will be caesar for cardinals to find and eat the seed you put out on the feeder. 

You Are Inconsistent About Filling the Feeders 

Birds prioritize consistent food supply even cardinals also, so if you sometimes keep your feeder empty, birds will look elsewhere for food.

So, if you want cardinals to be near your feeder for food you need to fill your feeder every day with sufficient food. Or else these hot red beauties will look for another consistent source of food. 

You Might Not Be Using the Right Cardinal Food 

You Might Not Be Using the Right Cardinal Food

There might be a lot of cheap bird seed available in the store but not all of them are what cardinals are interested in. Cardinals usually love striped sunflower and safflower seeds.

But other than that they also love to have mealworms, peanuts, and even corn. Don’t worry !! They have very hard beaks and these hard seeds are not a problem at all.   

There  Might Be No Clean Water 

If your yard doesn’t have a clean source of fresh water, then it’s possible that cardinals will not stay in your yard for long. They need water to survive and they will keep looking for a place that has a good source.

Even though these birds can drink dirty water, they will always prefer the freshest and most good source that’s available.

Squirrels and Raccoons Might Have Found the Feeders 

If once squirrels or raccoons find access to the feeder they will dominate the feeder and scare away the birds. If the birds are so, it’s good if you install a squirrel baffle to keep them away. If you have the budget then you can also invest in a weight-activated feeder.

This type of feeder makes seeds inaccessible when big animals like squirrels try to eat the bird food. Moreover, you can also consider hanging the feeder from a bird feeder pole; these will also prevent the squirrels from ransacking your bird’s food. 

There Are Other Predators Nearby 

There Are Other Predators Nearby 

If the cardinals follow any predators or risk near your feeder, They will seek an alternative food source that’s safer and would stop coming to your feeders.

This could happen when migrating birds of prey enter your yard or your neighbor has set their cat free.  If it’s your neighbor’s cat that causes a nuisance then you can ask your neighbor to keep the cat in their boundary.  

Your Neighbors Are Also Feeding

If it’s your neighbors that have recently set up new feeders, then there is a lot of possibility that your cardinals are visiting their feeders instead of you, that could be because their feeders could be safer than you.  They might also provide the freshest food and cardinals’ favorite birdseed. 

Your observing time might not be right

It could be possible all in all that the Cardinals have not disappeared at all. But in fact, they come to feeders when you are not observing. Cardinals are known for being early risers and if you are not an early riser you might not see them feeding at your feeders.

However, cardinals also come to the feeder at late night also when the sun is setting or just after it’s set, so if you are refilling your feeder in the evening you might be missing the view of cardinals.

To solve this problem you could install a wireless camera near the feeder. The camera will captivate any activities that would be happening near the feeder and you can also view your cardinals activity when you are not around. 

There is Not Enough Shrubbery or Big Trees in Your Yard

Cardinal birds prefer trees and shades so they like a yard that has tall trees in it. The trees can keep the birds safe from predators like cats. Even if you do provide the best bird seeds in your feeder, cardinals would not stay in your yard for a long time because they will not be safe.

Even though a trimmed and manicured lawn might look very pleasing to your eyes, it’s not the same for the cardinals as they like to stay out of potential predators.

There Are Natural Food Sources Around Your Yard 

There Are Natural Food Sources Around Your Yard 

Whatever, time of the year it is if there’s a natural source of food available around the yard then the cardinals would prefer that.

Because rather than checking out for bird feeders they can source natural foods which include insects, grains, and even fruits. 

Deep Clean Your Feeder From Time to Time 

Along With changing out the bird seeds and also wiping the feeders regularly, you need to also incorporate deep cleaning the feeders at least every two weeks. This prevents any mildew or other substances from contaminating your feeder.

The easiest way to clean the feeder is to put it in the dishwasher. But if your feeder is not dishwasher safe then just clean it with some soap and water and make sure it’s dry before refilling. 

How  to Get Cardinals Return to the Yard 

Even Though it’s frustrating that the Cardinals left your yard. There are several things you can do to bring them back to your yard.

It may not be possible to bring them back instantly but making some simple changes will bring back their attention. 

Here are some ideas that would help you 

  1. Choose feeders that are made for cardinals so that they comfortably have the feed. 
  2. Choose the foods that cardinals enjoy most like sunflower seeds and safflower seeds 
  3. Offer a birdbath or medium for a birdbath. If possible try to give a heated bird bath during winter.
  4. Make sure that you never leave the bird feeder empty. 
  5. Offer shelters like dense shrubs and trees so that the birds could hide from their predators 
  6. Go for a feeder pole to prevent squirrels and raccoons from ransacking the food. 

Wrapping Up 

Cardinals are very mischievous and complex birds. Even Though cardinals might enjoy your feeder for some time it could move to different spaces especially if your feeder is often empty.

Moreover, if there’s any natural food source nearby then the cardinals might end up going there. However, if you make a bit more effort the cardinals might follow the tips above you might have cardinals back in your yard.  

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