Cardinals are attractive for their red-colored plumage and melodic songs, but what draws many birders, especially researchers’ attention, is their food habits.
Their diet makes some ornithologists think about a strange question: Do cardinals eat meat? Yes, they consume meat. FYI, full-grown cardinals eat insects and suet containing fat. As you may know, cardinals gobble bugs and insects like cicadas, flies, etc., and they get meat from those animals.
But do you know whether their hatchlings eat meat or not, and do cardinals consume raw meat? If you want answers to these questions, keep your peepers peeled through this content.
Read more about cardinals food:
Do Baby Cardinals Eat Meat?
Yes, baby cardinals eat meat. Now you may wonder how they can consume meat whereas they can barely nibble.
Well, their parents feed them insects, and as you know, all insects have soft to rigid bodies built with meat, muscle, and protein.
In that sense, baby cardinals eat meat; they especially consume meat from caterpillars.
Are Cardinals Carnivores?
No, they aren’t; they are omnivorous and love to eat plant-based food. But sometimes, cardinals eat insects and bugs during food shortages.
Also, they gobble small insects when they need immense energy to stay active throughout the day and conduct long flights. Hence, it’s evident that cardinals aren’t carnivores.
Do Cardinals Consume Raw Meat?
As they eat insects, we can say they consume raw meat, but if you are talking about eating ground beef or meat scraps, they don’t eat such meat in its natural form.
However, cardinals consume the fat found in beef and other raw meat. They get it in the bird feeders that many birders offer these fats to cardinals in the form of suet cakes.
What Happens If You Feed Cardinals Raw Meat?
If you feed cardinals raw meat, you will lead them to suffer from fatty liver disease. Birds get this disease when a whopping amount of fat is stored in their livers, and consequently, their livers stop functioning.
Alongside that, raw meats are more susceptible to growing dangerous bacteria within a short period, and these bacteria can infest cardinals and other birdies. So, the point here is you should refrain from offering cardinals raw meat.
What Other Birds Eat Meat Alongside Cardinals?
Hawks, falcons, eagles, osprey, vultures, owls, and other birds of prey consume meat. Typically, they hunt prey on the ground or catch their targets midair.
Sometimes they also feed on carrion, a popular food source for carnivorous birdies, especially vultures.
Do Wild Birds Eat Meat?
Indeed, some wild birds like falcons, herons, seagulls, ravens, hawks, eagles, vultures, owls, etc., consume meat. In fact, they are devoted to meat and suited to live in the wild.
Meat is the primary food source for these birds; without it, they can barely survive, let alone thrive.
What Other Food Do Cardinals Consume Other Than Meat?
In the bird’s world, cardinals have the most exciting diet. As you know, they are omnivores; they consume fruits and seeds, including blackberries, raspberries, wild grapes, dogwood fruits, sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, and more.
They also munch on grains and buds from trees like elm and chokecherry. Speaking of the insects, they gobble beetles, flies, crickets, cicadas, caterpillars, moths, and even centipedes and spiders.
One recent study suggests that cardinals may eat small carrion in a rare condition, particularly during the food shortage. So, these are all the foods cardinals consume alongside meat.
Cardinals, these medium-sized songbirds, eat varied foods, and meat is one of the food sources. But they don’t directly consume raw meat; usually, they eat the fat found in suet and consume the meat from bugs and insects.
So, now you know whether these birdies eat meat or not, and next time somebody asks you this question, you can quickly answer them or share this content with them on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. That’s all for this article; we hope you enjoyed reading this one.