Four days ago I confirmed the presence of a cardinal nest. Mom and dad cardinal alerted me to it and though I love birds, I don’t actually love having a nest right at my back door. It creates a lot of stress. Way, way, way too much stress. The biggest concerns – my two, big dogs who’ve brought me baby birds in the past. Dead ones.
I moved the grill, locked the dogs inside and started watching all of this play out. I obsessed. I chased squirrels away. I put signs on doors to ensure the safety of birds/fledglings. And here’s how the last week went — in photos. If you’re looking at this on a phone, turn it sideways – that’s the best way to view photos.
May 5 – the first day I noticed the cardinals hanging around constantly. Here’s dad.
May 9 – what’s that noise? A baby!!! Photo by Rylan Cole.
May 9 – mom on nest. How many are there? This would remain a mystery.
May 9 – oh, &^%*, one of two barred owls that live on my property. Please don’t mess with the cardinals!!!
May 9 – mom and dad both feed the baby. Here’s mom with a worm wrapped around her beak.
May 11 – dad always on duty. He guarded that nest 24 x 7.
May 12 – today. Out of the nest and almost ready for the world. But not leaving tree.
May 12 – today. I’m not the only one panicking. Mom is more stressed than I am. That’s actually unbelievable, but it’s true. She’s flying back and forth, feeding, encouraging, feeding, stressing.
May 12 – today. Dad is doing all the same stuff – stressing, feeding, encouraging, guarding.
May 12 – today. I then watched the most beautiful thing happen. Baby flew!!!
May 12 – today. This is the part where I start crying. But only a little. It can fly, but it’s hungry.
May 12 – today. Full-on crying now. Because I’m a mom too and apparently some things make me a little sappy.
May 12- today. I’m still crying. I’m sure this is foreshadowing four years from now, when I’ll really have empty nest syndrome, but I feel it now. Yes, it’s possible to be happy and sad at the same time. Good luck, baby cardinal. Hope to see you, your mom and dad again.