Background Switcher (Hidden)

Mother's Day Gift

Sunday, May 14, 2006

April 23, in a rare moment when the female cardinal is off the nest. Three capsules of bird promise.

I've been watching this cardinal nest in the forsythia bush by our driveway, cheering the two nestlings along to their fledging day. And sticking my camera in their faces periodically to share the magic with you. This is not something I would do if the nest were deep in the thicket. This nest is right next to where I get in and out of my car; I can stand on the pavement, stick my camera just inside the forsythia, and get the picture. Not every day by a long shot; I only shoot when the female is away, and she's a very tight sitter. I'm hardly leaving a scent trail by doing it; my scent is everywhere all the time. And I believe the cardinal feels safe, knowing that she's in a place that gets high human traffic. Predators tend not to like such areas. How else to explain the ring of bird nests snugged up against our house? Two Carolina wren nests under the eaves at the same time. A chipping sparrow nest bursting with three babies by Liam's bedroom window. A house finch nest by the studio window. A song sparrow nest out the back door. A phoebe nest under the deck. And all of them, so far, successful. Much of this is due to the cool weather, which keeps the snakes in their lairs. Black rat snakes hit the later nests hard, eating eggs and chicks, no matter where they are. Black rat snakes can climb almost anything, and they are much better than I at finding bird nests. No wonder birds start nesting early, sitting their eggs through late spring snowfalls. I would, too.
Just to recap, here are the pictures I've taken of the cardinals, along with the new ones. The magic began only 11 days ago.
Hatching day, May 03: Day 7, May 10: All quills, porcupine babies. The third egg never hatched.
Saturday, May 13.Day 10. One baby fledged this morning, while the other is left with the unhatched egg. It's still being fed, but is not quite ready to leave.
Saturday, May 13, around 2:30 p.m. The second nestling has become a fledgling, and it sits at the edge of what has been its world, and contemplates how very much more there is to inhabit. By nightfall, it has clambered and fluttered off to join its family. I will be watching for these two. I'm grateful to have been there to see them grow.


Neat pictures! We have a robin nesting on the windowsill of our garage, and I've taken pictures of the beautiful eggs. Now that she's stopped laying, I'll stop looking for a while. This evening, I noticed a sparrow nest right next to the back door! They must feel safe being near people!

You are very fortunate to have so much activity and to have seen nests survive. We have 3 bluebird houses and have only had one pair nest, laying 5 beautiful blue eggs, but they were unfortunately punctured by either a house wren or a house finch. Not only were the eggs pierced but Mr. Blue was found dead just under where he used to hang out near the house. Do you have any suggestions to help these beauties ward off predators??

[Back to Top]