The Best Bird Seed For Cardinals To Keep Your Backyard Busy In 2021

cardinal on a feeder

Last Updated: March 29, 2021

Cardinals are fascinating birds of a variety of characteristics that are a joy to be around. They sing lovely songs and have stunning, colorful plumage to go along with it. 

Do you know that...

Red Cardinal birds can become your regular visitor easily; you'll just need to find the right things that attract them the most.

That said:

The first thing that will get these lovely songbirds to your backyard is their favorite bird seeds, of course. 

Although there’s a wide variety of Cardinal bird seeds, Wagner's 62032 Cardinal Blend made it to the top of my list. 

There are a lot of reasons why, and in this review, you’ll find out more about that.

5 Best Bird Food For Cardinals Reviewed

1. Wagner’s 62032 Cardinal Blend – Best Overall

cardinal seed

Wagner’s 62032 Cardinal Blend is rich in high-oil content seeds. It’s loaded with sunflower and safflower seeds that provide the necessary nutrients to keep Cardinals well nourished. 

This type of bird food also contributes to keeping their brilliant-looking feathers healthy.

This blend is designed explicitly for cardinals, who need to maintain high energy levels to survive the cold winter months. 

Each pack of Wagner's Cardinal Blend is made with a 60% Black Oil Sunflower Seed and 40% Safflower Seed combination, delivering a high-energy diet that has proven effective time and time again.

The combination and just the right size of black oil sunflower seeds and safflower seeds is the top favorite for these songbirds. 

Also, its press-lock bag makes it convenient storage that keeps seeds fresh longer.

Pros

  • Black oil, safflower seeds
  • High-quality mix
  • Velcro clasp

Cons

  • Not suitable for some feeders

Takeaway

Wagner's Cardinal Blend is the best bird seed choice for cardinals, offering the right combination of high-energy nutrients to provide the proper nourishment.

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2. Lyric Cardinal Premium – Best Mix

Lyric Cardinal Seed

The Lyric Cardinal Premium Sunflower & Safflower Mix Wild Bird Food is one of the best bird food for cardinals and other wild birds. 

This blend is made with the highest quality ingredients and packaged in a state-of-the-art facility to ensure freshness.

It's a specially blended mix to attract cardinals and other birds like blue jays, grosbeaks, nuthatches, titmice, chickadees, and more.

Lyric Cardinal Premium Blend has been specially formulated by Lyric experts to contain larger seeds that cardinals and other big-beaked birds prefer. 

This refined mix of black oil sunflower seeds, safflower, black-striped sunflower seed, buckwheat, and sunflower kernels is the perfect blend for cardinals. 

The Lyric Cardinal Premium was created with the feeding habits and nutritional requirements of the cardinal in mind. Thus each of the additives loaded in it is a top choice of cardinal birds and other big songbirds.

Pros

  • No mess from shells
  • No wasted seed
  • Attractive to a large variety of birds

Cons

  • Doesn’t stay for long

Takeaway

Lyric Cardinal Premium is a wonderful mix of seeds to draw the cardinal birds into your backyard. It's also the best value for money with a premium blend of high energy safe ingredients.

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3. Audubon Park 12231 Cardinal Blend – Most Affordable

Audobon Cardinal Blend

The Audubon Park 12231 Cardinal Blend is a mix of black oil sunflower seeds and safflower seeds, both high in energy and oil-rich protein. It's the ideal mix for attracting cardinals and other songbirds to your yard.

Audubon Park 12231 Cardinal Blend of 60% black oil sunflower and 40% safflower seeds form a high-energy, nutritious base for cardinals.

Made with safety and quality in the USA by the family-owned company that started it all, Audubon Park blends are highly digestible, contain no fillers or byproducts.

Pros

  • A perfect blend of black oil, safflower seeds
  • Produced by 100% family-operated business
  • USA-made

Cons

  • Twigs and sticks are sometimes found in the packet.

Takeaway

Audubon Park bird seed is guaranteed for its quality, value, and nutritious blend at an affordable price. 

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4. Morning Song 11956 – Best Value Buy

Morning Song Birdwatchers' Blend

This bird seed mix by Morning Song has a nutritious blend of seeds, nuts, and grains that is most appealing to cardinals and other wild birds. 

Morning Song 11956 Birdwatchers Blend premium seed mix is specially made for the backyard birding enthusiasts to attract cardinals and other species of birds like finches, titmice, and more.

The mix of grain products, white proso millet, peanuts, and safflower seed will attract an appealing variety of birds to your feeding station. 

This mix also includes black oil sunflower seeds, a rich source of protein which is also a favorite of Northern Cardinals. Safflower seeds help deter pesky squirrels.

Morning Song 11956 Birdwatchers Blend is made with the highest standards in compliance with the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act and packaged at one of America’s oldest family-owned mills.

This mix contains no artificial preservatives or additives and is milled fresh when you order it, so you can rest assured that your birds only get quality ingredients. 

Pros

  • Attracts a wide range of bird species 
  • Is reasonably priced
  • Suitable for a variety of feeders

Cons

  • A bit pricier
  • Dropped shells create a mess

Takeaway

This 100% safe blend is overall a perfect fit for any backyard feeding station that will keep your feathered friends coming back time and time again.

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5. Kaytee Cardinal Blend - Best Budget Buy

Kaytee Cardinal Blend

Kaytee Cardinal Blend is one of the most budget-friendly bird food that will invite cardinals to your feeders.

This is a high-quality, all-natural bird seed that is specifically designed to attract cardinals. The blend contains black oil sunflower seeds and safflower seeds, two favorites of this beautiful songbird.

Black oil sunflower seed is one of the most popular bird feeder seeds, as they are extremely high in fat content and can be consumed both day and night, which makes them ideal for attracting songbirds.

The high oil content of Kaytee Cardinal Blend helps attract cardinal birds. It also has an extra amount of safflower seed, which gives the bitter taste squirrels hate and keeps them from raiding your feeder.

Kaytee Cardinal Blend features barrier packaging that helps keep the seeds fresh and protects against infestation while keeping the seeds tasty fresh for your birds.

Pros

  • Deters squirrels

Cons

  • Attracts only a limited range of birds

Takeaway

Kaytee's Cardinal Blend is a quality product that provides your birds with a delicious food source. Best of all, it's budget-friendly bird seed with a high quality you can trust from Kaytee!

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What You Need To Know Before Buying The Best Bird Seed For Cardinals

Identifying the ways for choosing the best seed for cardinals will help you in providing the most appealing foods to cardinals, thus attracting them to your feeders.

Points To Consider In Choosing The Best Bird Food For Cardinals

Inviting regular visits of Cardinals requires time and commitment, but they are among the most rewarding types of birds to sing you lovely songs.

Some brands offer more bird seed meals, while others are more focused on nuggets. In my opinion, both have their advantages and disadvantages. 

When making a decision on which bird seed to buy for the cardinal and other songbirds, you should take these things into consideration:

Mix Proportions

In my opinion, the best birdseed to feed to our cardinals and other songbirds friends is the mix provided by Wagner's 62032

This is because the company uses a high-quality and safe combination with many health benefits for the birds. The blend is loaded with fresh seeds, vitamins, and antioxidants. 

Freshness

Fresh bird seed is usually much more nutritious for the birds than those kept for several months in a dry condition. In fact, birds can get used to the seed's taste and flavor, and they will reject it when it has become stale. 

In fact, stale seeds are not fit for the birds, and they can pose health risks.

The best solution to keep your cardinals safe is always to purchase the packages that are recently manufactured.

Ingredients

The quality of the seed and its ingredients play a key role in whether or not your songbirds will be satisfied. It is also important to note that you cannot buy just any seed for your cardinals. 

There are also specific ingredients you should look for when purchasing cardinal bird seed.

Bird eating nuts

I always like to look for the following types of seed: 

  • Fat Bird Seed: The fat bird seed is specially designed to provide protein and the calories that birds need. This type of seed contains seeds that are a mix of edible seeds and water. 
  • Bird Nuts: They are high in protein, calcium, and other important nutrients that the beautiful songbirds need. Bird nuts are made from acorns, peanuts, millet, and other nuts. Morning Song 11956 Seed is a great combination of seeds, nuts, and grains perfect for attracting cardinal birds.

Price

My personal preference is for cardinal bird seeds that are sold in bulk. Some companies sell bigger packages than others; some offer it as an individual part of a larger package. 

This means that you can mix and match meals and save money by buying a package that gives you the perfect mix of seeds. Another benefit of purchasing in bulk is the fact that a lot of bird seed comes already mixed with the perfect ratio ingredients.

Beyond The Cardinal Birdseed

The most important factor to keep in mind when choosing the best bird seed for your cardinals is that not all birds will like it.

Adding other bird food forms to your backyard buffets such as suet, berries, nectar, and nuts, is the easiest way to lure birds.

All different kinds of birds can sample seeds, so setting up feeding stations with a variety of the right bird seed and other cardinal bird foods is the most promising route to get birds to come to your feeders.

Nutritional Facts For Cardinal Birds

Keeping cardinals coming to your yard is not a simple task. Sure, it is fun to feed them, but how do you choose your bird's food?

Seeds

The diet of birds is largely varied, although most are granivores; that is, they feed mainly on grains and oat seeds, wheat, sunflower seeds, and so on.

However, the most recommended is that they feed on a combination of several types, depending on their beak's size. From there, they get the vitamins and minerals they need.

Most bird foods marketed by current brands already contemplate this mixture; the composition and proportion are determined according to each species.

Sunflower seeds

Fresh Food

Although seeds are the main source of their diet, the diet should be completed with fresh products, such as fruits and vegetables. 

This type of food is very important in times of plumage change. 

Birds like all kinds of vegetables: lettuce, spinach, herbs such as parsley, cucumbers, carrots, and even potatoes.

You can leave a large piece hooked to the feeder to nibble whenever they want. The same goes with fruits: melon, apple, pear. Just remember to discard them before they spoil.

Bars And Food Supplements

Besides being a treat, bird bars can be an essential food supplement for your cardinals. 

These bars are made from grains that contain additional nutrients and help keep the beak in good condition. There are many types:

  • Edge bars: they usually include ingredients such as apple and raspberries. They are exceptional for songbirds, with the necessary vitamins for their reinforcement.
  • Honey sticks: no bird can resist its sweet coating.
  • Bars with cereals and egg: they are common components of your diet, but in this case, their quantity is increased to achieve complete nutrition.
  • Energy bars and multivitamins: they serve to reinforce certain deficiencies.

Essential Nutrients for Cardinals:

Carbohydrates

These compounds provide birds with the energy they need for their normal development. Carbohydrates are found in sugar and starch. The latter is present in the seeds, which are also a source of fiber.

Protein

Proteins are necessary because they contribute to the development of muscles, beaks, and feathers. The amount needed varies depending on each species. 

However, in general, it should represent around 10-12% of their diet for the cardinals. Not all seeds have the same protein ratio, so it is best to opt for a mixed diet.

Fats

Depending on the type of seeds, the fat content varies greatly. It is a fact that must be watched because excess seeds with a high-fat percentage can cause overweight. This is the case of those rich in oil, such as wild turnip or linseed. 

That is the negative part, but we must not forget that these are fundamental components of their diet that maintain the structure of the cells in your cardinals. 

The birds cannot produce essential fatty acids themselves, so they get them from the food they eat.

Vitamins & Minerals

Calcium, phosphorus, iron...The intake of minerals is essential for the bird's growth and its nervous and muscular system. 

On the other hand, phosphorus is usually incorporated into prepared foods, like iron, which should not be abused because it can be harmful to your bird's liver. 

Cardinals need vitamins A, D, E, K, and B2. It is recommended that the chosen food should contain a correct proportion of vitamins and minerals. Some specific species also require vitamin C.

With the help of the video shared below you'll be able to explore much more about how to pick the best bird food for cardinals:

Final Thoughts

After considering all of the factors described throughout the post, we've concluded that Wagner’s 62032 Cardinal Blend is the best bird seed for cardinals. 

It ticks all the boxes in our thorough review process and gives bird lovers the best food possible for their cardinals. Its price may be a bit expensive for some bird lovers. 

But that's because it's free of fillers and can provide you with just the necessities rather than a slew of unnecessary ingredients.

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