Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Since the discovery of the Cardinal nest in our yard, I have spent every possible spare moment watching it. Unfortunately, spare moments have been scarce and I can hardly book off work to "babysit". We have heard the Cardinals around more than usual recently, which is why I filled the feeder.
So they have been busy with their offspring for a while because we watched as the first one fledged last evening. What a homely little creature! But it blended in well with the mulch and lilac runners beneath the nest.
It tried valiantly to fly and clawed it way up the branches of the shrub toward the nest, but could not make it. The parents were always nearby though, feeding the three in the nest and the one on the ground.
In the past week I have watched a mother Wood Duck care single-handedly for her brood of five. Cowbirds are the epitome of neglectful parenthood. But Cardinals have a parenting partnership and are very devoted caregivers. I felt compelled to help them find grubs, dug some holes in the garden and added a little water. They really didn't need my help and tolerated my presence only because duty displaced their fear.
I have a little time before work this morning, so I shall sit on the deck and watch the show for a while.