Best Food for Cardinals: Top 12 for 2022 (Reviews & Buying Guide)

By: Mary
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Cardinal is one of the songbirds known for its red brilliant plumage and on infrequent cases, yellow. They are also widely adored because of their fine song and active and inquisitive nature. No wonder people aim to attract them in their yard or keep them in their cozy homes to pets. As the interest in this bird arises, the quest in finding the best food for cardinals broaden.

Things that You Need to Know About Cardinals

These birds belong to the Cardinalidae family and are known to have three “true” types which can be distinguished through their colors and songs. They have become iconic in the US that their images are sometimes seen in decorations or figurines.

Other that the brilliant colors that make them distinct above the rest of wild birds, there are a few more interesting things about cardinals. Whether you are just curious about these colorful birds or you are interested in attracting them in your backyards, this information will surely be of great help.

Cardinals love Sunflower

Cardinals have a great love for seeds and sunflower seeds are their ultimate favorite. Others are safflower seeds, nuts and cracked corn. Devouring these is not a problem thanks to their thick bill. So if you want to attract cardinals to your backyard, offer bird food that contain any of these seeds and your will never be disappointed.

Life Span

The maximum life span of cardinals is 13-15 years old. The oldest recorded cardinal lived to be 15 years old and was tracked in Pennsylvania. Although, their average life span is approximately three years. This is due to some dangers they face in their daily lives including illnesses, accidents and predators. Being attracted to someone’s backyards can help them avoid these, which is why it is important to provide them with a safe environment.

Cardinals Are Non-migratory

Other songbirds moveto warmer places in the winter while cardinals stay in their usual habitat or places where they usually stay and that includes your backyard. As a treat, you can provide them with places which can keep them warm as well as food that can help them keep at the cold days of winter.

Cardinals Brilliant Colors Come from Plants

Color pigments that can be found in some plants are responsible in making the cardinals’ feather colorful and vibrant when ingested. To help them maintain these colors, you may consider growing those kinds of plants in yourbackyards. It will also help attract more and more wild birds.

Cardinals Change Behavior During the Nesting Season

In a year, there is a nesting season for cardinals. During this time, they experience an increase in their hormone level making them very territorial. In this time, they may attack any intruders as they think of them as a threat to their brood. It will help if you provide them with cages or areas for this season.

Top 12 Best Food for Cardinals

Another distinct characteristic of Cardinals is their strong and thick bill. This bill enables them to eat even large seeds like sunflower and safflower seeds. These birds also like a variety of food like cracked corn, peanut pieces, fresh berries, apple chunks and they can also be given mealworms for treats. The list below will help you find the best food you can offer to cardinals.

Wild Delight Cardinal Food

The reputation of Wild Delight in providing high quality bird food has been acknowledged for many years. The products they use for their bird food were grown naturally making sure that they only provide the best quality. They offer bird food that effectively attracts wild birds like cardinals.

One of their best products is this cardinal food with advanced formula. The blend of ingredients was chosen to entice and feed your desirable birds, especially cardinals. The mixture has real cherries, and nuts, added with vitamins and minerals. It is also free of corn, milo, millet and chemical preservatives. Simply put it in your bird feeder and it will surely be noticed and enjoyed.

Wild Delight Deck Porch N’ Patio No Waste Food

Another product that Wild Delight is proud of is this no mess cardinal food. It is made with pistachios, and sunflower kernels packed with vitamins, minerals, electrolytes and amino acids to ensure that you are not just feeding the cardinals but also providing them with essential nutrients.

The blend promises zero waste as it was made free of hulls nor fillers including those with corn and millet. Also, it has been proven to attract all songbirds including cardinals, finches, and other outdoor pets. As a result, you will get the cleanest feeding experience while watching those pretty birds gather around and enjoy their treat.

Wagner’s 62032 Cardinal Blend

Wagner’s expertise in providing premium quality bird food is also widely known. No wonder many bird feeders trust their products and continue using them. One of their products with positive reviews is this cardinal food blend. A mixture of safflower, black oil sunflower and stripped sunflower seeds make up this advanced formula.

As sunflower is one of cardinals favorite, this mixture will surely be tempting for those little wild birds. Other than their palates being satisfied, they will definitely be nourished and energized by this healthy and palatable bird food. In addition, you won’t have to worry about squirrels as sunflower seed is not attractive for them.

Audubon Park 11231 Cardinal Blend

Audubon Park Bird Food, being a family owned business product can also promise to help you attract wonderful songbirds including cardinals. This cardinal blend is a safe and natural bird food that contains essential nutrients to keep the cardinals healthy and maintain their high energy.  It also helps nourish their brilliant plumage.

Audubon Park Cardinal Blend contains 60% black oil sunflower seeds and 40% safflower seeds making it a tempting feast for wild birds yet a non-attractive food for squirrels. It is recommended to be used in large heavy chopper or platform feeders in your backyard so you can draw more and more wild birds in your home.

Kaytee Wild Bird Food Safflower

If you are looking for a high oil content bird food to attract wild birds like cardinals, chickadees, nuthatches and more, Kaytee Safflower bird food is for you. Safflower contains a high amount of oil making it desirably enticing for most wild birds.

Using this food blend is also a good way to drive away pests and unwanted animals in your garden because the bitter taste of safflower is accepted only by certain wild birds. It is also pretty simple to use it.  Just put a desirable amount of bird food in the feeder and the wild birds feast on it.  it can be used alone or combined with other bird food.

Meadow Ridge Farms Cardinal Mix Premium

Cardinals and some wild birds love this blend as proven by bird watchers and experts who have used and reviewed this product. It contains sunflower seeds, safflower, peanut parts, sunflower hearts and black oil making it highly palatable for birds. The ingredients are also known to be a great source energy making it highly recommended to offer to wild birds all year round.

This product is locally blended and packed in Delano, Minnesota on a daily basisto keep it fresh. They also make sure to use only the highest quality and natural products. This bird food can be placed in platform feeder or tray, open port tube and large covered fly through. It is also recommended to use feeders with no cages to attract more birds.

Valley Farms Sunflower Hearts Super Clean Wild Bird Food

This bird food can be considered one of the best treats you can offer to lovely songbirds like cardinals. It is a blend of carefully chosen seeds which were vacuum cleaned to produce a clean filler-free food product. Surely, wild birds will get only what they need, high quality seeds with no hulls. This food blend is a combination of sunflower hearts and chips in various sizes, hulled white millet, peanut hearts, thistle seeds and cracked corn.

The ingredients are known to be a great source of nutrients that wild birds need to stay healthy and active every day. Some of these nutrients are fats, fiber, protein and essential vitamins. This bird food is also known to be of great help in their metabolism.

Morning Song 11967 Cardinal Wild Bird Food

Morning Song cardinal bird food is considered a great deal both for its price and the great trick it can do to make wild birds keep on coming back to your backyard. Quality is rest assured as it is made in the US and manufactured by a family owned business.

It is a blend of sunflower seeds, white millet, safflower seed and cracked corn – a great combination of seeds and grains that most wild birds love. This food blend can be placed in a hopper or a platform feeder in your backyard. It comes in 5 pounds and 20 pounds package perfect for a long time use. You may feed it to the birds alone or it can be mixed with other products for a better variation.

Des Moines Feed Co. Cardinal Brand Wild Bird Food

For over 70 years, Des Moines Feed has been dedicated to providing quality wild birds food and their cardinal brand wild bird food has been a favorite for 50 years. It is one of their products with non-GMO ingredients as they are committed to producing products with premium quality and a great source of nutrients.

Cardinal brand wild bird food is millet based to fit an all year round feeding. It contains 20% stripe and black oil sunflower seeds and shelled peanuts combined with White Proso millet, milo, cracked corn, and hard red winter wheat. These ingredients nourish wild birds with protein, fiber and healthy fats to keep them healthy.

Harvest Seed and Supply 13203 Mealworm Medley Wild Bird Food

This bird food is a real great deal for both seed lovers and insect’ lover birds like cardinals. Other than the appetizing combination of sunflower seeds and chips, millet, safflower seed, and peanuts, it was made more enticing by dehydrated mealworms and milo. This is surely irresistible and can truly attract many kinds of wild birds.

Other than the palatable combination, it is also a great source protein. This can be used in tube, and hopper or platform feeders. If you are not convinced with the plain blend of seeds and grains, try this variation and enjoy a great view of colorful birds in your yard.

Kaytee Wild Bird Food Black Oil Sunflower

Kaytee Black Oil Sunflower is claimed as the most preferred bird food because of its ingredient that contains high oil. The main ingredient – oil sunflower seed – is a great source of energy make it the best choice to keep the wild birds active in all seasons. The ingredients are cleaned triple times to minimize debris and produce a premium bird food without mess. The pieces also have thinner hulls making it easy for small birds to eat.

Other than high-oil content, it is also packed with other nutrients that wild birds need to stay healthy. Lay this bird food in your feeders and it will surely attract not only cardinals but also other wild birds like woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches and more.

Lyric Wild Bird Mix

This nutritious wild bird mix can attract cardinals, chickadees, finches, grosbeaks, nuthatches and other wild birds. It is a delightful combination of 7 different seeds, 3 varieties of nuts, sunflower kernels and cracked corn – all of which are known to be wild birds favorite foods. The food mix itself can already guarantee to attract birds of different kinds. Not to mention the nutrients it can provides to them.

In addition to the great variation of ingredients this food mix contains, it is all natural and made free of fillers. Moreover, the ingredients are clean and hand-crafted resulting to a premium quality product.


Attracting wild birds like cardinals truly takes a lot of effort and patience. It can also be a big responsibility as you are not only to feed them but also helping them survive and reproduce. You give them shelter that is free of danger and equipped with all the things necessary for them to live on.

Indeed, being one with nature is a great thing and one way to do that is to have a close contact with one of them – birds. If you truly are dedicated to giving these little friends happiness, carefully choose what to feed them as it is one of their sources of happiness.