Things You'll Need
Wire bird cage (old or new)
Non toxic all purpose cleaner
Tree branch about 8 feet off the ground (or some other support for your birdhouse that will allow you to place the house at the proper height)
Fabric scraps (preferably made from natural fibers such as cotton)
Plastic coated wire
Cardinals are one of the birds that backyard bird enthusiasts are most eager to attract to their yards. The male cardinal, with his bright red plumage, is one of the most recognizable birds. Cardinals are "open nesters" rather than "cavity nesters" and as such, are very unlikely to move into any standard birdhouse you provide. Cardinals are not migratory birds, so if you encourage them to nest in your yard, it is likely that they will remain year-round. Planting native trees, shrubs and vines are one of the best ways to encourage Cardinals to take up residence in your back yard, but there is also a method of constructing a home for Cardinals that will allow them to nest in the open while allowing you to help them want to stay by providing the ideal nesting spot.
Decide on a suitable tree branch for your Cardinal home. Ideally, it should be away from busy human activity. Cardinals generally prefer to build their nests at a height of approximately five to six feet off the ground. If you have no suitable branch, you can use a wall, a post or whatever else places your birdhouse at the proper height. Take the size of your cage into consideration so that, when hung, the bottom of the cage is no lower than five feet off the ground.
Clean the wire cage with a non toxic all purpose cleaner. Rinse thoroughly and let dry.
Add the twigs, fabric, feathers and wool to the bottom of the wire cage. The wire cage will serve as the birdhouse. It is important to use a wire cage so that the Cardinal, while nesting, feels as if her nest is out in the open. Cardinals are not birds that nest in crevices --- they nest in open trees and shrubs. An open wire cage will allow the bird to feel out in the open, while providing everything she needs to build a nest.
Cut a two-inch piece of the wire.
Use the cut wire to wrap around the birdcage door and birdcage wall in such a way as to prevent the birdcage door from accidentally closing.
Cut a length of wire long enough to go over your selected branch and run it through the top of the bird house. Twist the ends of the wire together securely to hang your Cardinal house in the tree.
Shelley Kishpaugh has written numerous articles for Demand Studios and Helium on a wide variety of topics, and she is currently writing a children's book. Kishpaugh received a B.S. in psychology from the University of Colorado and has been writing professionally since 2007.