Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cardinal Virtues

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.


  1. thanks for sharing it so we can all enjoy the cardinal family along with you.

  2. How beautiful! And what fun to watch the babies grow up! Thanks for sharing =)

  3. Great post. I love the plain and clumsy little fledglings. Unlike bluebirds, who are beautiful even as fledglings, the cardinals are rather like ugly ducklings. But don't they turn into beautiful birds!

  4. Anonymous9:56 am GMT-4

    What a wonderful family. Can't wait for more updates.

  5. I miss the cardinals. They were abundant in Sarnia but not so here.

  6. What a treat - hope the little fellow survived.

  7. I love cardinals--so I can completely understand your wanting to sit and watch.

  8. Anonymous6:49 pm GMT-4

    How wonderful to be able to watch the Cardinal family from your deck. The first picture is very beautiful - makes me think of a watercolor painting. I like the fledglings too, even if they aren't the cutest baby birds - somehow they're still sweet.

  9. I have cardinals on my feeders as well. I know that if I see one the "spouse" is not far away. But lucky you to have a family and to be able to watch it grow. I'm jealous!

    Lovely pics of the babies, I think they are cute. And Papa is absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for letting us into your backyard.

  10. Beth and Rondi- I wish I had noticed them earlier instead of when they left the nest. My sharing will be limited!

    NCMW- I would love to see any Bluebird in my yard. But the Cardinals were pretty neat.

    SG- Updates are done! They were all gone by the time I got home from work today.

    AC- When my grandmother was my age there were no Cardinals in Southern Ontario. Their range has slowly spread north. Maybe your wee grand daughter will see one in your area some day.

    Jean- I hope he did too, but I know nature can be harsh.

    KGMom- I like them because they add colour to our winters. And I love their song.

    April- I have tried many times to get pictures of Cardinals in our yard but they tend to visit at dawn and dusk and are very shy. I am glad to have finally caught a few pictures.

    Cheryl- I was hoping I could show them to you, but they are gone. :-(

  11. I've never seen a new Cardinal fledgling! He is so ugly he's cute!

  12. Ruth,

    Nature puts on quite a show and these baby cardinals are so ugly they are adorable. Thanks so much for sharing. I'm sure you are enjoying watching the cardinals and other bird species in your yard.

    Have a great day.

  13. Ruth, I think I'll sit with you too if I may for I find those moments and activities that you are writing about so wonderful and fulfilling. Lucky you for getting such great pictures of the baby Cardinals.

  14. What a great Cardinal show.

  15. Ruth, that first photo is beautiful! And it's cute to hear about your cardinal family and their activities. I know what you mean about wanting to stay home to watch them all day; I get the same feeling about all of my backyard birds and their offspring.


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