Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Northern Cardinal Nest, Cutesy Baby Bird Photos

Sunday afternoon I was puttering in the yard when a very agitated pair of Northern Cardinals caught my attention. They were clearly upset by my presence, but didn’t fly off. They stayed close, chipping excitedly and hopping about. This could only mean that they had a nest nearby. Took me no time to find the object of their concern, which was semi-hidden in a tangle of honeysuckle vines.

The parent birds were trying to distract me with their nervous behavior, but the ruckus they made actually led me to their nest. It’s a diversion tactic that might work with cats, but doesn’t fool a bipedal primate such as myself. Fortunately for the birds I only wanted to photograph their young, not eat them. The two large nestlings were almost fully feathered, and even had scruffy little crests.Monday as I was walking around the yard I again saw the parental pair, now followed by at least one gangly tailless fledgling. The baby bird was already able to make short fluttery flights – impressive, considering that it had probably been out of the nest for only a few hours. Doubly impressive when I consider that my wife and I are expecting to have human babies in our lives soon, and it’ll be months before they are even able to walk.

Apparently our Eastern Bluebird nestlings have also fledged. Haven't seen any activity around the box for a while, and when I looked inside I found the nest to be empty.

Lately I've been hearing Great Crested Flycatcher and Summer Tanager around our little bungalow in the swamp. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are still draining our feeders, which have also been attracting a male Orchard Oriole. On May 9th a wandering Yellow-billed Cuckoo briefly visited our yard, and on the evening of the 15th I heard a Common Nighthawk calling.


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