How to Build a Cardinal Birdhouse


Bright red cardinals are a favorite visitor to backyard bird gardens. Cardinals do not migrate; so once a family of birds is attracted to your garden, expect to see them return day after day. Cardinals ordinarily build open cup shaped nests and do not like the standard enclosed birdhouses. Left to their own devices, cardinals will build nests in dense shrubs or small trees no more than 15 feet off the ground. Cardinals will not nest in man-made structures. If you want cardinals nesting in your garden, you'll have to let the female cardinal build it herself.

Step 1

Leave a wire cage, like the sort used for suet, filled with nesting materials to invite cardinals to build a nest near your garden Fill the cage with twigs, wool, yarn, ribbon or scraps of material during the springtime. Use brightly colored ribbon and yarn to help spot the newly built nest.

Step 2

Cardinals like to build nests in the fork of small trees. Plant dogwood, sugar maples or evergreens along the edge of your property to attract nesting cardinals to your garden.

Step 3

Cardinals also like honeysuckle, grapevine, blackberry and other dense shrubs. Allow natural brambles to form an undergrowth at the edge of your garden to invite cardinals to build nearby.

Things You'll Need

  • Empty suet cage
  • Ribbon
  • Wool
  • Yarn
  • Fabric scraps
  • Twigs


  • Cornell Lab of Ornithology: "All About Birds"
  • Bird Houses 101
  • Wild Birds Forever: "Attracting the Northern Cardinal"
Keywords: Cardinal, Nest, bird house

About this Author

Denise Bertacchi is a freelance writer with a degree in journalism from Southeast Missouri State University. She is a St. Louis suburbanite who has written for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Boys' Life, Wisconsin Trails, and Missouri Life.