Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Our friends, the Northern Cardinal

We've had some cute birds at our feeder lately. This time of the year, many chicks have been "fledged" from the nest, and are learning lifelong coping skills from their parents, to employ once fall arrives :) We have a family of Northern Cardinals that nest in a tree behind our yard that we enjoy year after year. And they stay all year; so even in the winter, when we put seed out, they come to eat.
I saw their fledglings last year, I believe in August, and by that time, they had all already gotten their adult plumage. The bird at left is a male. The females look completely different. They are buff colored, and have distinctive orange beaks. But they still have that tuft on their head, like all cardinals. Precious :)

So anyway, the other evening, I was cleaning up after dinner, and I hear a bunch of racket in our yard. Fledglings of all kinds are LOUD. They are very much like human children in this way :) They squawk up a storm, wanting their parents' attention and for them to feed them. So, I looked out, and what did I see?

I mean, did you ever? At first I thought it was a female, due to the lack of red feathers. So I ran to get my binoculars. Once my binoculars were trained on the scene, I noticed red feathers growing in on his belly. A baby boy! He was making a bunch of noise, and his father was rushing around, grabbing seed to pop in his mouth.

Suddenly, I heard more noise from the opposite direction. On the other side of the landscaping there was another fledgling, truculently making his presence known. This one too, was a growing boy. The father was racing between the two of them, trying to pacify them both. It was as if I could see a bubble over his head, that said "How on earth did I get stuck with afternoon duty all by myself?!"

The joys of parenting :)

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