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How to Make a Birdhouse for a Cardinal

By Tanya Khan ; Updated September 21, 2017

Cardinals are beautiful birds everyone wants nesting in their backyard. The males have bright-red feathers that make them stand out. These birds are not migratory and will probably stay all year round in your yard if they feel safe and secure. Cardinals prefer an open nest you may provide for them on small trees and open shrubbery rather than a traditional enclosed birdhouse. You can help them find their permanent abode in your backyard by making a home they prefer.

Purchase a small-size hanging or plain wire cage so the cardinal feels as if it is nesting out in the open. Cardinals are very small birds, a little bigger than finches, so a very large cage will fail to serve its purpose, as they will feel threatened and refuse to nest there.

Select a study branch on a tree in your backyard that is 6 to 8 feet off the ground. Ideally, it should be away from any human activity. Any lower will make cardinals easy targets for predators like cats. If you lack a suitable tree branch, you can consider using a wall or post to support your wire bird cage.

Fill the base of the cage with twigs, leaves, roots, paper or bark strips, to make the house appealing for cardinals.

Open the wire cage door fully and secure it to the body of the cage with a 2-inch-long wire. This will keep it open at all times, allowing cardinals to get easy access into their home.

Stand on a sturdy ladder and hang your wire cage by running a 3-foot-long wire through its top and extending it around the branch several times, so it is secure. Use pliers or wire cutters to cut it, and twist the ends together.


Things You Will Need

  • Small wire cage
  • Tree branch or wall or post
  • Twigs, leaves, roots, bark strips or paper
  • Ladder
  • 3 1/2-foot-long wire
  • Wire cutters or pliers


  • Cardinals usually nest in March, but some will nest up to August. Make sure you set up the cage and fill it in advance to attract those looking for a house.
  • Fill the cage with cracked corn, sunflower and safflower seeds to attract cardinals.
  • Plant trees like spruce, hemlock and honeysuckle, rosebushes and other dense evergreens to provide shelter for cardinals, in time.
  • If using a wooden post, make sure it is 2 feet in the ground to form a stable support, and the wire cage is at least 6 feet above the ground. Attach the base of the cage firmly to the top of the post by winding wire around the post and extending it through the wires at the base.

About the Author


Tanya Khan is a freelance author and consultant, having written numerous articles for various online and print sources. She has a Master of Business Administration in marketing but her passion lies in writing.