Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cardinal Nest

I took this series of pictures over a few day period at the beginning of July. This is a cardinal nest. The eggs were actually all reddish brown spotted, although one looks blue in the picture.  The nest was located in a Camellia bush at about 4 feet off the ground. I startled the parents off the nest quite a few times as the nest was located right by the outdoor faucet. But they persisted in their nest tending. After the eggs hatched, the babies grew extremely fast. The morning the last picture was taken , I knew it would not be long till the babies fledged, but I had no idea it would only be a couple of hours.A little later I noticed Dora, my dog, taking an abnormal interest in something under the Camellia bush and the male cardinal fluttered away on the ground, trying to draw Dora's attention to himself. I stepped closer to the nest and peered in. It was empty, but a very ragged looking youngster with a bare head was perched on a branch near the nest. It looked at me like it was familiar with me, which of course it was. It had seen me numerous times. Then Dora came out with one of the babies in her mouth. It was too late for that one, but I shut her in the porch for the rest of the day so maybe the other two babies could escape. I never saw anything else of any of the family.
I enjoy the cardinals all winter at the bird feeder. They are so bright and cheerful, but very cautious, never staying at the feeder for long, and keeping a close lookout for danger. Although the male cardinal seemed attentive to the female while she incubated the eggs, he was much more selfish in the winter, often chasing females away. The females would not approach the feeder if there was a male on it.

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