Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A Lesson About Cardinals - A Very LONG Post

 Say "hello" to Jr.
This is baby cardinal #1 of two babies that arrived into the world on May 29th on our property.
Mama and Dad have lived on our property for quite some time, just one of the three cardinal couples that occupy our land that we are aware of.
They built their nest in a bush along our front walkway this spring and put up with the comings and goings of our two boxer pups as well as us, for the weeks that mama was incubating there.

Cardinals are notoriously nervous and flighty about humans, so we were very surprised that they stayed in the bush and successfully hatched two babies.

Baby #1 was a bit more out in the open when he left the nest and made his away across to the other side of the yard to the treeline area, so I was able to get his photo, but baby #2 was in high grass so an up close photo was not manageable.
I did however get just a little video of that baby in the grass.

 Say "hello" to dad.
He's quite the handsome male cardinal and was so good to his mate, flying to her for her every whim.
Each time she called to him he would come immediately to her nest bringing her whatever she needed and then flying off again to the nearby cedars and fir trees on our property.

 These photos were all taken on the 29th of May after the babies left the nest.
Baby # 2 was below Daddy cardinal on the ground and he would call to the baby getting it to eventually make it's way into the lower branches of the tree to safety.  The process took many hours.

 Say "hello to Mama Cardinal.
She's just too lovely for words and I can totally see why the male chose to mate with her.
I mean, what manly cardinal wouldn't want to wake up to this sight every morning!

 These photos of Mama Cardinal were taken also on May 29th as she sat in the tree above baby #2, chirping and begging him to come up into the lower branches of the tree away from predators on the ground.

 She and Daddy would fly from one end of the yard to the other, chirping and calling to the babies.
I had never had the opportunity nor the pleasure before to watch this amazing process.

 Simply hours upon hours of singing, chirping, flying down to the babies and then back up into the trees directly above them.
I was amazed.

 It really gave me much more respect for these birds, our state bird.

Here she is leaving baby #2 to go check on baby #1.
Each parent would take their turn with each baby and then they would switch locations with the other parent.

 This is Dad leaving baby #2 and going to baby #1.

Mom in tree over baby #1.

 Baby #1 hopped up onto tree well where he and Dad had a talk about things and how important it was for him to get into the trees to safety.

 Then Mom took her turn chatting with #1.

Yes, this is a very long post and heavy on photos, but I wanted it to be learning tool to anyone interested in birds, and especially in cardinals. For one, they are a beautiful bird, very colorful and easy to spot when on your property.  They are very vocal, always calling back and forth to their mate and they tend to nest in bushes, many times near the house.
We have bushes at the front of our home and we also have a bird bath which we keep filled with water which welcomes all birds to our property.  It sits below our Bradford Pear trees, so it gives easy access to shy birds from the trees to get a drink.
They can then retreat directly back into the safety of the trees.

We see cardinals, doves, house finches, blue birds, blue jays, brown thrashers and other small birds at the bird bath
We also have pileated woodpeckers, red bellied woodpeckers, many crows in our area *quite noisy*,   turkey vultures only in the air thus far, regular wild turkeys run across our backyard at times, wild geese living at the golf course pond nearby fly in formation overhead.  We also see hawks, and one day had an owl sitting atop our garden fence.
There is no shortage of birds in our immediate area.

Below is a bit of video I took of our two baby cardinals during their trip from nest into the trees, along with photos of mom and dad if you want to view.  AND below that is a YOUtube video I found that lets you listen to the songs of the cardinal and how they make those sounds.  It's quite interesting.


Thanks for reading and viewing.
Watching this fine cardinal couple have and nurture their fledglings right before our very own eyes has been a big treat from Mother Nature.


  1. Fascinating! Those babies look to be too young to be out of the nest ... makes me wonder why. I'm used to fledglings that can actually fly, clumsily at first, developing more skill very quickly. I have had Carolina Wrens nest here often, and we have a pair of Phoebes that nest underneath our front porch every year. You remember the Mourning Doves that were in my greenhouse. Their babies all flew out of the nest ... they aren't earth-bound like these Cardinal babies appear to be. It's good that Mama and Papa are such attentive parents.

  2. I love Cardinals. They are so strikingly pretty.

  3. Beautiful post Diane!
    Just yesterday I was visiting friends and their Cardinal chicks had just hatched .
    They were in a cedar tree right next to the deck.
    I took a couple of pictures of the chirping babies . . . (can't see them, just the nest!)
    Then the three of us sat and watched mom and dad flit and chirp back and forth . . . keeping watch over their flock.
    I love watching the birds . . . part of my "best life!"

  4. They're so pretty and the babies are so cute! My mom has them in her yard, but I haven't seen any so far. I do have a bluebird though :)