Saturday, June 14, 2008

Northern Cardinal

A fellow gardener asked me "Do you have Cardinals in your garden?" Well in answer to his question I thought I would post about the family we have in our garden this spring. Right after my folly (this is what I call my forsythia by the side of the house) stopped blooming I was going to prune it back but I was stopped with trimmers in hand by the sight of a female Cardinal sitting on a nest in the back of the bush right against the side of the house. She flew off and I got a picture of the young. As you can see they were quite small here. It wasn't too long when I heard them out and about in the garden. I didn't see them for some time because the parents were keeping them hidden in the bushes around the house.
Finally a few days ago, on a cloudy day I spotted one of the little ones sitting in the Serviceberry tree calling for breakfast. The young look a lot like their Momma. As they age you can tell a young cardinal by the color of their bill. Their bill doesn't turn that orangy/red until they are mature.
I was delighted to see that the Cowbirds didn't find this nest. I thought that maybe only one chick had survived when Dad came in with food and started feeding the little beggar. I couldn't see any other chicks. Then all of a sudden another appeared with its begging wings on. Dad had plenty for the second one. They sat in this position for another feeding. I tried to creep in closer to get better pictures. That didn't work so well.
Dad gave me the evil eye and then told his young to get back into the thick of the bushes which they did. I was just delighted that I got to see the young being fed. The male cardinals are such good fathers and husbands. First they make sure the female is fed. Then when the young are out of the nest they make sure they are fed. Since I didn't see the female while all this is going on I figure that she is on a nest or building a nest someplace else since this is what they often do. These parents are a great team for making families.

20 comments:

  1. Great shots of the Cardinal family, Lisa. We've always had a few, too, and I completely lost track of time as I sat and watched the parents teach the babies how to fly one day.

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  2. Great shots of the Cardinals Lisa, nicely timed action shots.

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  3. It's great to be reminded that our plantings, which bring us so much pleasure, aren't just for us. They're crucial for the wildlife and connect our garden to the rest of nature. I have a very overgrown vibernum, which the previous owners planted much too close to the house, but I'm still reluctant to remove it since the chickadees love its tangled branches.
    I enjoyed your cardinal photos, from helpless hatchlings to demanding teenagers.

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  4. Awww... so sweet Lisa! Love seeing the cardinal babies and glad you saw the nest before continuing to prune. :c)

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  5. Thank you so much for this reportage! They are so sweet!

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  6. Lisa....the photos were good enough for me, I love those shots. Being fed by Dad, what a joy to see this in your own garden.
    They are such pretty birds. The birds in England are not so bright and colourful as yours. Still very lovely to us that live with them, of course.
    I love the first photograph, they always looks so vulnerable, don't they.
    Enjoy your weekend with DB and Luna.

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  7. Oh great shots Lisa! I can never find the cardinal nest so I only see the parents flitting around and of course when he sings in the treetops.

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  8. Those Cardinals are soo cute and wonderful action shots you captured!

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  9. Lisa, you are so much more observant than I. I have seen cardinalls all my life, but have never seen them being fed by either the mom or dad. Thank you!

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  10. What a thrill for you to witness that interaction. Great pictures! I wonder if the two that hang out around here nested close by this spring. I haven't seen any babies.

    I was busy planting more shrubs today, hopefully one of these days I'll have enough shelter for nesting birds in my own yard.

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  11. I think DAd in that last photo was giving you the hairy eyeball. Your photos are good, Lisa, and glad your gardens are giving them shelter - a safe refuge for the little ones.

    Cardinals are good families of birds. I've seen juveniles being fed into the fall season!

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  12. I am glad you all have enjoyed the Cardinal family. I haven't seen them since. I hear them up high in the trees begging for food but I haven't seen them at the feeders yet.

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  13. Dear Lisa
    I also think the male and female Cardnials are wonderful parents and mates. The male is very attentive. He is a great Dad!
    Wonderful pictures.
    Sherry

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  14. Such a great series on the Cardinal family. Thank you.

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  15. Nice just before Father's Day. I love the pix of Daddy feeding baby in the tree.

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  16. wow, what amazing captures. How wonderful to watch this spectacle of nature!

    http://flickr.com/photos/27458974@N00/

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  17. Thanks for sharing the Cardinal tales from your garden! I love them and have never seen such intimate scenes that your photos have captured. I would have been thrilled!

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  18. What a wonderful, wonderful post, Lisa. And great photos. I love those cardinals.

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  19. Wonderful photos of the young Cardinals! I have a bird book, copyright 1920, which states that Cardinal flocks are upwards of 30-40!! I am lucky if we see 8 together at one time.

    However, when I was passing through North Carolina, I counted 22 of them on a lawn. beautiful birds...

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  20. This is a fabulous post, Lisa! Thanks so much for sharing these great shots of the cardinal family. Isn't he just the best daddy?
    How appropriate for Father's Day :)
    You did well to get such a close-up of the babies.
    We have a male that comes to the feeders each day, but I haven't seen the 'Mrs.' lately. Maybe she's sitting on eggs. I hope we see some young ones.

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