Northern Cardinal in mangroves in FL
Cardinals are featured today on our "Feeder Friday" blog post. We're in southern FL where we saw a Northern Cardinal at Ding Darling NWR, Sanibel, FL, hanging out in the mangroves at the side of the drive. This always surprises us, we just don't associate cardinals being at the edge of a saltwater environment in mangroves. But there are plenty of cardinals here, and inland as well. There actually are 4 different subspecies of cardinals in different areas of the country. Even though the ones here and in NH are the same subspecies (Cardinalis cardinalis), the ones down here can give a much softer, sweeter, higher-pitched, "chip" note as part of their vocalizations, than the ones in our NH yard. It sounds more like a warbler chip-note and can be confusing to people who are down here looking for warblers.
People always want to know how to attract cardinals to their feeders. We have found that cardinals at our NH home prefer platform, hopper, or feeders with wide ledges, filled with sunflower or a seed blend with lots of sunflower. Often they just go to the ground to pick up dropped seed. Our NH cardinals do not like to go to tube feeders. In FL, however, we had cardinals happily using tube feeders.
What kind of feeders do your cardinals prefer and what kind of seed?