Attract Cardinals Without Attracting Squirrels

Attract Cardinals Without Attracting Squirrels Featured Image

How do you attract cardinals and avoid squirrels, blackbirds, starlings, and crows? Try Cole’s Safflower seed. Safflower is similar in nutrition and protein content to sunflower seeds, but it has a bitter taste that most squirrels do not like. Cardinals, however, can’t seem to get enough of this special little seed.

Another great reason to try safflower is that “nuisance” birds such as grackles and starlings tend to ignore it since their beaks can’t easily crack the shell. So the smaller, less aggressive songbirds like cardinals, chickadees, titmice, and nuthatches get to enjoy a nice leisurely meal at the feeder without being chased off by those annoying squirrels and blackbirds. Keep in mind though that any time you change what is in your feeder, it may take a while for your favorite back yard birds to get used to your new offering. Some people try a 50/50 mixture of sunflower and safflower seeds to help the birds transition to a feeder full of straight safflower.

Being so specialized in the birds it attracts, safflower tends to last longer in the feeder. As a result you get to see more of your favorite birds while they dine away on a seed meant just for them.  Cole’s Wild Bird Products sells high quality safflower for cardinal lovers as well as those backyard enthusiasts just looking for a break from the squirrels and blackbirds.

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  • I tried switching to safflower seed but the blackbirds still seem to like it. I have also considered the cage type feeder but I think Cardinals or around the same size as a blackbird, is that true? If so, both of them could fit through the cage to get to the birdseed. Any ideas would help, thank you.

    • Yes, you are correct. the cardinal and the typical blackbird are roughly the same size. The good news though is that usually blackbirds give up on feeders after the food source runs out. We suggest taking down your feeders for a week or two. Sad I know, but that will give the blackbirds a chance to move on and then you should be able to put them back up.
      Good Luck!

  • Great suggestion! I love watching our cardinal pair but it drives me nuts when the squirrels get into the feeder and make a mess.

    I think it’s time to try some new seed. Thanks for sharing!

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