What Animals Eat Cardinals? Predators of the Cardinal

What Animals Eat Cardinals

Cardinals are mostly found in the eastern part of North America. They are known for their stunning red feathers. Northern Cardinals are renowned as one of the most majestic and beautiful birds in numerous states due to their beauty and relaxing chirps. Although these birds are delicate and cute, they are also vulnerable to larger predatory birds. Various predators, including large birds, several mammals, and certain reptiles, hunt and eat them. Cardinals are eaten at all stages of life, including when they are fledglings or eggs in the nest.

Now, the question is, what animals eat cardinals? Cardinals are preyed upon by a variety of predators, including hawks, falcons, eagles, owls, shrikes, blue jays, and crows. In addition to these birds, predatory mammals include cats, dogs, foxes, squirrels, rats, and chipmunks. Cardinals are also prey to reptiles such as snakes.

Many creatures feed on these red-colored soulful birds, whether on land or in the sky. This article will discuss these creatures as well as how to protect cardinals from predators.

Animals That Prey On Cardinals

There are a whole lot of animals that prey on cardinals, including mammals, birds, and reptiles. Bird species make up the majority of the cardinal’s predators. They are eaten by different kinds of hawks, owls, eagles, shrikes, and falcons. Blue jays and crows are also on the list. Cardinals are far more vulnerable to snakes when they are on the ground.

Predatory mammals also pose a serious threat to cardinals. However, mammals like cats are the biggest danger to the cardinal; they attack these red birds early in the morning. Cats do not attack cardinals in flight, but instead, they hunt them directly from their nests. Dogs and foxes are also known to prey on cardinals.

So, in this section, we’ll classify all these predators and discuss them in detail in the following manner:

  1. Mammals: Among predatory mammals and other predatory species such as birds and reptiles, cats pose the greatest threat to cardinals. Cats are infamous for snatching birds immediately out of the nest and causing the most damage to cardinal populations in the early morning hours. Dogs and foxes are also predators of the cardinal, however, they are less successful than cats at catching birds.
  2. Birds: The predatory birds that are the biggest danger to cardinals are the barred owl, long-eared owl, sharp-shinned hawk, cooper’s hawk, and marsh hawk. Other hawks have also been observed to prey on small birds like cardinals, but not to the same degree as marsh, cooper’s, and sharp-shinned hawks. The only owls known to eat cardinals are barred owls and long-eared owls.
  3. Reptiles: Since cardinals typically feed on the ground, reptiles like snakes often prey on them as well. Snakes can catch cardinals for food and also eat their eggs and babies. There are various kinds of snakes within the cardinal’s natural habitat that hunt birds and could be possible predators to the cardinal if they get the chance. Milk snakes, king snakes, garter snakes, and water snakes are some of the snakes that feed on cardinals and their eggs.
Cardinal get attacked by a garden snake

Now, let’s have a look into the list of all the predators that hunt and eat cardinals:

Predatory MammalsPredatory BirdsPredatory Reptiles
CatsAccipiter HawksGarter Snakes
DogsCooper’s HawksKing Snakes
FoxesMarsh HawksMilk Snakes
ChipmunksSharp-Shinned HawksWater Snakes
RodentsBarred OwlsColuber Constrictors
Eastern Grey SquirrelsLong-Eared Owls 
Fox SquirrelsEastern Screech Owls 
 Golden Eagles 
 Bald Eagles 
 Loggerhead Shrikes 
 Northern Shrikes 
 Blue Jays 

Animals That Prey On Cardinals’ Eggs

Squirrels, chipmunks, and shrikes are a few examples of small creatures that could harm the cardinal’s eggs. Additionally, snakes, hawks, owls, and blue jays could all be predators of cardinals’ eggs. Their eggs are extremely vulnerable, that’s why cardinals lay eggs in multiflora rose, honeysuckle, and various ash plants. The success rate for cardinal fledglings can be as low as 15%.

Animals That Prey On Cardinals’ Eggs

Cardinal eggs are an inadequate food for larger creatures like cats and dogs, thus they don’t like to eat them. On the other hand, small mammals like chipmunks, shrikes, and squirrels love preying on cardinal eggs.

The eggs of cardinals are a favorite food of many birds of prey, such as owls and hawks. Smaller birds like blue jays and shrikes also like to eat cardinals’ eggs. Besides, various snakes prey on the cardinals’ eggs when their mothers are away from the nests.

Read: Can Cardinal Birds Be Pets?

Things You Can Do To Protect Cardinals From Predators

We know how much you like these beautiful birds and wish to help them by keeping predators away. So, here are some useful tips on how to protect cardinals from predators:

Keep House Cats Away From Cardinals

You should keep your house cats inside as much as possible to safeguard the cardinals in your yard. Put a bell collar on them if they must go outside so that cardinals will be alerted to their presence. Don’t let the kitties out during the morning when cardinals are around.

Choose A Safe Place For The Feeders

Place the cardinal feeders 10 to 12 feet away from bushes and shrubs in a safe place in order to prevent predators from getting to the feeder. As a result, cardinals may keep an eye out for possible predators that may be hidden in the bushes.

Choose A Safe Place For The Feeders

Provide Feeders Without Perches

Make sure to provide perch-free bird feeders to keep squirrels and raccoons away. This will keep away raptors like hawks and owls as well as squirrels and raccoons. Use plastic or metal poles as well to prevent mammals and reptiles from climbing.

Elevate The Nesting Boxes For Cardinals

Keep the nesting boxes at least 8 feet above the ground. This is to make sure the cardinals’ eggs, chicks, and adult cardinals are protected from predators like cats, raccoons, snakes, and squirrels. If the nesting boxes are higher off the ground then it is much safer for the birds.

That’s All, Folks!

If you like feeding and attracting cardinals in your backyard, you may start to worry about them and wish to get rid of any dangers. Cardinals often struggle with predators, which is a common issue given the abundance of predators in the world.

Few household animals, such as cats and dogs, love to hunt cardinals. In addition to these domestic mammals, cardinals are preyed upon by foxes, squirrels, and rodents. Sometimes, even chipmunks will try to attack and eat cardinals. Hawks, owls, eagles, falcons, and blue jays make up the majority of the predators.

You should keep cardinals safe from potential predators if you love having them around. Whenever it’s possible, keep your pet cats inside your home. Place the nesting boxes and feeders in a protected area where snakes and other predators cannot harm the cardinals.

Tawsif Arafat

Tawsif is the author of Birds Indeed, a blog celebrating the beauty and diversity of birds. With a Master’s degree in Law, Tawsif brings a unique perspective to the world of ornithology. Join Tawsif on their journey of discovery as they share their knowledge and love of birds with the world.

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