Where Do Cardinals Nest?
Female cardinals lay three to four whitish-gray eggs with brown speckles in a nest of twigs and grasses hidden in a dense tree or shrub. For cardinal nests, concealment is key: The showy birds look for the camouflage of dense shrubs and trees. Compared to other birds, their nests are low, only 4 to 8 feet off the ground. Northern cardinals are territorial during breeding and the male cardinal stays near the nest. To see cardinals year-round in your yard, host a nesting pair. For their first nests in April or May, cardinals often choose the protection of evergreens. Pairs raise several broods a year and select different sites, so planting a mix of small, dense trees and shrubs is ideal. Some cover trees and plants to try are box elder, eastern red cedar, nannyberry, and shrub roses. Wild grapevine is a good addition, too, because cardinals use its bark for nesting material.