Monday, May 25, 2009

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis): Nest

We’ve had a week or so of gray weather interspersed with rain showers and thunderstorms. Not good weather for rowing but I can’t stay inside all the time. So … I’ve been taking a daily walk down to the creek and then around the field. Yesterday, it started to rain lightly when I set off down the field but I didn’t expect it to last. The rain got heavier the further I went but it clearly was a shower. I decided to shelter under trees down at the road. I’m not sure why I looked back into the woods – probably just occupying time.

There, not more than three feet above the ground was a bird’s nest with chicks. Their eyes were closed and they were almost naked, a little bit of down and some wing feathers. I could hear quiet ‘chipping’ calls – softer than the scolding that chickadees deliver. I followed the nearest sound and finally spied a female cardinal sitting higher up in the tree. The source of the second call – presumably the male – was off to the right, possibly in a tree across the road. I got some shots with a zoom lens and flash but the lighting wasn’t good enough to get close up shots. Today, I went back with an led flashlight. The shot of mum sitting on the nest is a little dark. I tried not to disturb her but she was very shy and took off.

I did get some good shots of the chicks who, for some reason, thought it was dinnertime and responded accordingly for a few seconds.

I’ll keep an eye on the nest if I can do it without disturbing the mum too much.

Reference information:
Northern Cardinal (Cardinal cardinalis)
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