Monday, December 10, 2007

My First Cardinal!

I had my first visit from a cardinal today - a male Northern Cardinal. I slept in this morning and woke up late. As I pulled myself upright and swung my legs over the side of the bed to look out the window at the birds, imagine my surprise as a cardinal flew into the tree at that very moment! I jumped up, and I believe my exact words were, "Holy sh*t! My first cardinal!" I ran to my office to grab the camera, which of course had the wrong lens attached. I swapped out the lens in a frantic foggy excitement and ran back to my bedroom.

The cardinal was very hesitant about checking things out. The feeders were bustling with finches, house sparrows, juncos, and mourning doves, so he was sort of bobbing and weaving to stay out of the way of the other birds (who hardly seemed to notice him). I surely noticed him!

Can you say, sore thumb? (As in, sticks out like a...)
Can you say, sore thumb

The cardinal flew back and forth to the tree a lot, seeming a bit nervous. It was hard to snap any photos of him, as he kept dropping down into the brush.

I never did see his female companion, but I will keep looking! Cardinals (our state bird here in Illinois) are very close with their mates. According to the book, Birds of Chicago (U.S. City Bird Guides), "This species pair bond is one of the most faithful of Chicago's resident birds. Never far from one another, male and female cardinals softly vocalize to one another not only through the breeding season, but year round, as if sharing sweet nothings. The ritualized beak-to-beak feeding reinforces the romantic appeal of these easily identifiable birds," (p139). Oh, how sweet!

Finally, a cardinal has found me!

Watching all of those crazy juncos down there
Cardinal, watching those crazy juncos down there

Scoping out the scene
Cardinal, looking left

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