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Wildlife: Help With Expecting Mom

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DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

March 22, 2006
12:42 AM

Post #2128983

I know Northern Cardinals aren't among the most sought after birds, but I think they are positively gorgeous,. When I 1st bought my house, they would sit on the back fence but would never come to the feeder. In time I learned that the lone feeder amidst a barren expanse of lawn made them feel like "sitting ducks". I worked hard to make them feel at home. For the 1st few years they would only come to the feeder when I was inside. Then slowly, and much to my delight they began to trust me enough to venture into the garden with me. I can tell when they are around from the "click, click" sound they make. Recently, I've begun to notice that the "click,click" sound is a constant in my humble garden.

Now, and I am SO giddy with excitement, the female has built her nest in the rose arbor just outside my back door. It is, at best, 10' from the edge of my patio. Even more incredible, while the arbor is 8' tall, she built the nest at about chest height on me (and I am not tall).I know that the bramble of rose canes will afford her and her new family a good degree of cover. But I can't help but feel that by choosing to build her nest so close to my house, she must feel somewhat comfortable in my presence and reasonably confident that I won't harm her babies. I spend a lot of time in the backyard garden and walk by her new nesting site several times a day. As she has spent a lot of time in my garden, she must know this. I am SO honored to have her nesting in my garden.

This leads me to a few questions: (1) I don't want to freighten her away, but I have to go out there several times a day and night, both to work in the garden and to take my dog out (small, 4lb maltese, very calm). I think that she must have seen me and the dog coming and going many, many times before. Do you think that she will be scared away by my presence? I plan to ignore her, avoid looking at her, and stay away from her nest - at least as much as possible. (2) Since her nest is 4-4.5' off the ground, I am a little concerned for the welfare of her babies. On the plus side, the roses are vicious, and they will be growing more brambles all around her soon. But opposums and racoons frequently raid my backyard in search of food. I'm thinking Cardinal eggs would seem tasty to them. Is there anything that I can do to help protect her or should I assume that she knows a lot more about raising her family than I do - and just but out? I've been taking the feeders in as soon as possible after dusk so they won't serve as a calling card for hungry wildlife.

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DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

March 22, 2006
12:48 AM

Post #2128997

Here is her nest. I watched her build it early Sunday morning. (Dont' worry, I took the photo with a zoom lens.) Again, it is only 4-4.5' off the ground. Couldn't a racoon climb that structure and stick a paw through the branches to grab some eggs? Just don't want anything to happen to her.

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tigerlily
Tiller, OR
(Zone 8a)

March 22, 2006
2:38 AM

Post #2129284

How exciting! Sorry I can't offer any help, but I can sure understand your feelings of honor, as well as concern. Keep us posted, please.

billyporter

billyporter
Nichols, IA
(Zone 5a)

March 23, 2006
1:04 AM

Post #2131738

Cardinals and orioles are my favorite birds! You are so lucky to have a nest! I just found out not too long ago that they nest in shrubbery. I assumed they nested in trees. After she lays her eggs, I think you could sneak a peek every once in a while without scaring her off. I guess that because they only nest so far off the ground they nest in a fairly safe place on their own. I understand you wanting to stand guard over "your'' birds. I'd feel the same way. You could always throw some cheap dog or cat food as far from her as you can, but I think she'll be ok. Keep us posted!

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

March 23, 2006
2:40 AM

Post #2131961

tigerlily, billyporter, thanks so much for your input and support.

The cardinals have been so shy. I've been working for 5 years to earn their trust. For years I ony saw them through the window. In the morning and late evening I would actually check for the cardinals before opening the door. If they were feeding, I'd wait for them to leave because I didn't want to scare them away. (You should have seen me asking the dog to "hold it" a few more minutes.) I even forced myself to give up that last hour of gardening daylight so that the cardinals could come to the feeder and eat dinner. This year when they started showing up in the yard WITH me, I was so elated. I never dreamed they would be raising their family at my back door!

I didn't know they nested in shrubs. That is encouraging. I guess she IS at the right heigth after all. Maybe she DOES know more about raising baby Cardinals than I do. ; )

SO excited. Looking forward to sharing the experience.

billyporter

billyporter
Nichols, IA
(Zone 5a)

March 23, 2006
2:45 AM

Post #2131971

What I like about cardinals is how gently the male will feed the female a sunflower seed. It has to be love don't you think?

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

March 23, 2006
3:02 AM

Post #2132074

Yes, I love that. I got such a kick out of that the 1st year I was here. Back then he was still afraid to come into the yard. But he had to brave it to get her some sunflower seeds; she waited on the back fence safely sheltered by tree limbs from the adjoining forest. I could imagine her turning away from him, sticking her nose in the air, tapping her foot, and taunting him with, "If you really loved me, you'd go over there and get me some of those seeds". And he did.

I also get a kick out of how they are always together. I read that when you see one, the other is always nearby, standing lookout. And I find that it is true.

billyporter

billyporter
Nichols, IA
(Zone 5a)

March 23, 2006
7:36 PM

Post #2133770

I took my walk down the old railroad tracks that are supposed to be the Hoover Trail and a cardinal told me I was a pretty girl. That always makes me smile.
Magpye
NW Qtr, AR
(Zone 6a)

March 24, 2006
3:23 AM

Post #2134974

.. scutler ..

The Cardinals seem to focus on early morning and late evening feeding, but we see them feeding off & on during the day also ..

It's usually the Cardinals, along with the lil ground feeding Song Sparrows .. that we see flittin' and hoppin' about .. late into the evening and sometimes continues after it's dark ...

The sweetest details, the love and warmth relayed within your stories about the Cardinals .. tends to draw me ever so comfortably into your backyards .. to see and hear all that is going on.

And I'm smilin' jes as big (maybe bigger), right along with all of you!! Simply eatin' it up, luvin' and enjoyin' every moment of the bird tales .. (hee)

((huggs))

- Magpye
GreenLife

(Zone 10b)

March 25, 2006
1:34 AM

Post #2137235

Magye couldn't have said it better. It is a real joy to see how much you appreciate Northern Cardinal and how much thought you put into making them feel like they're welcomed.
Floridian
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)


March 25, 2006
11:40 AM

Post #2137867

What a great view you have of the nest. What fun to watch the babies! You're very lucky
BloomsWithaView
Moab, UT
(Zone 6b)

March 27, 2006
5:59 PM

Post #2142748

Great story and pics to go with it or great pics and story to go with them.

How great is that, you provided just the habitat she needed. A thicket of thorns. Will keep watch on this thread for further developments. TNX for letting us watch with you. ~Blooms

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

March 29, 2006
1:54 AM

Post #2146477

Thanks to all of you for the kind words of encouragement. I was afraid that people would respond with, "It's just a cardinal, not like you have a painted bunting nest or anything." But I love all of "my" birds, common and rare alike, and the cardinals are among my favorites.In the presence of brilliant red male, I can't help but break out in joy and smiles - it's like trying to be sad in the pressence of sunflowers. The subdued colors of the female appeal to the artist in me; I know that I have painted her a million times in my mind.

5 years ago, I would have been happy just to get them to come to the feeder. I never dared dream they would come close enough for me to get a photo, let alone build a nest so close to the house. They do eat morning and evening as you suggest, Magpye, but the biggest "conflict" has alway been over the evening meal. Most of the year, when days are shorter, the last hour or so of sunlight is all that I have during the week to "play" in my garden after work. In mid to late summer when temps soar to the high 90sF with 100% humidity, that last hour or so of the day may be the only time I can venture out without risking heat stroke. But no matter how much I have to do or how much I want to keep working, I always force myself to leave that last 1/2 hour or so for the cardinals. Lately, they have started to venture into the garden and eat even while I'm working (as long as I'm not too close). Before that I could always hear them nearby waiting (as if they know that I'll go in soon) - like I said, I always know when they are there because they talk to each other with a series of "clicks".

Magpye, your words are so poetic. Thank you. I have noticed that the cardinals stay at the feeder well after dusk, after all of the other birds have left. But while they "push it", I don't think they can afford to stay out after it is truly dark, and I know how important that last meal is to them; afterall, they can't run back to the "kitchen" for a late night snack.

Bad news though. Saturday I could contain myself no longer so I sneaked a quick peak into the nest and look what I saw - IT'S EMPTY! I checked the literature and learned that if the nest remains undisturbed, she will lay her eggs within 1 wk. Since it has been more than a week now, I fear that she may have abandoned the nest due to the high level of activity in the area. She did choose a busy avenue for her shelter.

Now I'm really confused. Lately, any time that I go out into the garden, I always hear them "clicking" so they are staying very close by all day. Moreover, she keeps coming back to the nest. I saw her there again Sunday and today. If she had laid her eggs elsewhere I can't image that she would have left them to return to this empty nest. Not sure what gives.

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DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

March 29, 2006
2:05 AM

Post #2146504

I did also learn that the raccoon is one of the cardinal's main predators. On 2 sides, I think the thicket of thorns is adequate protection. On the side that faces my house, I fear that a cat or raccoon could reach in throught the thorns. If she does lay eggs there, I think I might attach some large rose branches on that side while she's away - I could easily prune them from some of the more aggressive groundcover roses. That would keep predators out and give her more privacy when I have to walk by on that side. She always comes and goes from the other side, so it would not limit her movements.

Here is the view from "inside" the arbor. The nest is against the arbor so I think a predator might be able to reach it here or through the branches on the side pictured above.

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Magpye
NW Qtr, AR
(Zone 6a)

March 29, 2006
2:23 AM

Post #2146553

Ahh, scutler .. It sure seems a bit early ...

A week, sshmeek: give it a while .. maybe the pair are running behind schedule a bit .. But, then again, jes maybe {their} 'weeks' are longer, and they may actually be 'on schedule' afterall !!

I've not seen a bird yet .. that works around us human beans schedule; ornithologists, or otherwise .. hee

I'm certainly no authority of/about such things - but, I've found that it's usually the Blues (BlueBirds) .. that are some of the first to get with the serious 'twitter-patin' bizness in Spring! Besides, they tell me all about this stuff when I'm outside .. (ya jes gotta 'listen' closely!) .. hee ..

If any ol wiley coon or other critter, is determined enuff - they'll find a way. ((But sweetie, I joyously applaud your efforts, on their behalf!))

Jes try to think positive, scut ..

((huggerooners))

- Magpye

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

March 29, 2006
1:52 PM

Post #2147386

Magpye, you just may be right about the time thing. She was on that nest when I came out this morning, and he was at the feeder. I guess just because we have the official cardinal "rules" written down somewhere doesn't mean they have to follow them.

Blooms, I hope I will still get the chance to share the experience with all of you.

Floridian, I do feel every so very lucky to have them in my garden. I hope that they will stay forever. They brighten everything so much.

Thank you, GreenLife, I'd like to say that all that I do for them is entirely selfless, but in fact I think that I get more out it than they do.

9kittymom

9kittymom
Bartlesville, OK
(Zone 6a)

March 29, 2006
3:34 PM

Post #2147648

I love Cardinals!! They may be my favorite bird.

I sat up a 'feeding station' outside my computer room window. I finally have cardinals coming by as well as so many other birds. I love it!!

Good luck with your babies. I'm sure they will have their eggs soon. Sounds like they trust you now.

Susan
=^..^=

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

March 29, 2006
6:22 PM

Post #2148028

Thanks, Susan. When I mentioned that she was at the nest this morning, I forgot to mention that I was sitting at a bistro table maybe 10' or so away, and I even turned to look at her. She didn't leave. That's a BIG improvement since 5yrs ago. And yesterday when I got home the male was eating from the "cattail" feeder at the front door. He flew over to a nearby shrub, but did not leave. We have come a long way.

Congrats on your new cardinal friends (and all of the other birds as well).

Hoping for some babies soon...

billyporter

billyporter
Nichols, IA
(Zone 5a)

March 29, 2006
10:29 PM

Post #2148573

I've never seen a baby cardinal. Only those that are old enough to join their parents at the feeder. I bet they are so cute. I hope she lays some eggs pretty soon! I think we all feel like expectant mothers. Thanks for the experience!

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

March 30, 2006
2:15 AM

Post #2149197

You are very welcome, billy. Thanks for "watching" with me.

I feel like we are all anxiously waiting outside the delivery room. This afternoon when I got home from work she and her "hubbie" were both in the garden AGAIN (they were there when I left this morning, too), AND she kept hanging around that nest the whole time that I was outside. I didn't want to spook them, so I did not dare to look in the nest again so soon.

A little "atmosphere": My backyard is enclosed by a privacy fence. When I arrived 5yrs ago, it was a lawn. Now it's a a cottage garden in progress. There is a small section of open lawn surrounded by trees (weeping willow, crabapples, weeping cherry and other ornamental cherries, redbud), shrubs (hydrangea,rose,etc) and all manner of perrenials, bulbs, etc. All of this is interlaced with paths that traverse the area. Roses, etc along the paths make it difficult to see from one area of the garden to another. I was mostly working on a section of a path that runs somewhat parallel to the one where her arbor/nest are. The 2 paths are seperated by large English roses and a mixed flower bed, but are really not so far apart - figure a 4' path, 4' bed, and 3-5' "wall" of roses. So I was really very close by, and she stayed in the vicinity of the nest the entire time. Her DH was watching from a tree branch at the back of the garden. (They are such a cute couple!)

Trying SO hard not to be a nosey neighbor - while standing binoculars and camera in hand with my ear pressed agains the hedge of English roses...

billyporter

billyporter
Nichols, IA
(Zone 5a)

March 30, 2006
2:42 AM

Post #2149333

LOL! Your yard sounds like what I'm trying to achieve. I like big open spaces and yet I want to enclose myself in my own little nirvana. Your cardinals makes me think I need some sort of briar rose. I finally got a Fat Albert pine tree so birds have a winter shelter. It feels good to support nature!

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

March 30, 2006
7:24 AM

Post #2149644

Yes to supporting nature - I really have that sense of stewardship. In my garden I feel so at one with nature. And yes to the rose. Before I started "filling" the space with plants, birds did not come.They not only need plants for "homes" but also for protection and escape routes. My yard is alive with creatures now, especially birds. Many times it's practically an open aviary. I love that. The 3 biggest attractions (for birds) in my garden are the weeping willow and 2 rose thickets. They seem to really like the willow because they can easily navigate between the weeping, vertical branches but large predatory birds cannot. If you grow any roses, especially ramblers, you know why that's such popular cover. While pruning I am often reminded of Freddy Kruger; sometimes I end up with so many cuts and scratches I look like I've tangled with an angry cat.

The arbor has Paul's Hymalayan Musk (rambler rose) going over from one side and Lady Banks rose on the other. A nearby tree has Meidiland Alba (rose) "climbing" up into the lower branches and over toward the arbor. One side of the adjoining path is also lined with large (currently 5-6') English roses. All of this makes an all but impenetrable fortress through which the birds move with relative ease. That area is practically an avian interstate. Saturday, for instance, the mockingbirds were courting there while wrens, warblers, and junkos were foraging on the ground underneath. Chickadees and titmice were running back and forth with sunflower seeds they grabbed from the feeder and carried into the thicket to eat. A hummingbird was resting there between trips around the garden to feed, and all this while the cardinals were trying to raise a family in there. I remember thinking that she picked an awfully busy place for her nest. It was really incredible to watch though. A miniature climbing rose that is now some 6' high on the side of my house is also a bird magnet; it has a nest left from last year. The other major rose thicket is a rambler that covers about 20' of fence adjoining the house. A host of birds hang out there, too.

It still needs a lot of work, but for me, it is a truly magical place.

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

March 30, 2006
6:18 PM

Post #2150682

OMG, they ARE HERE!!! I peeked in expecting to see the same dreary empty bottom and there to my delite were 2 or more cream colored eggs specked beige-brown. They were about the size of those speckled, malted birds egg candies you can get for Easter - and looked very similiar. Sorry I didn't have my camera. Was not expecting to peek but when I took the dog out I didn't hear any "clicking" so I thought I'd get a quick glimpse while the coast was clear. Will try to steal a pic later today. She's back now. YEAYYYYY!!! We're going to have babies!!

Magpye, you were right! Seven days max? What do those experts know? She didn't lay them until 10 days after she built the nest.

You know, sometimes I wonder if the birds may actually choose to build near our homes because the predators are afraid to come around us. Years ago I lived in a house with a utility room behind the attached garage. The hot water heater was in that room. I left the door ajar one day and a Carolina Wren built her nest in a pocket she made between the heater and the insulation wrapped around it. It was an excellent little incubator. I had to continue to leave the door ajar until they fledged. But I had to walk within inches of her nest several times a day in that little room. As long as I didn't make eye contact with her, she stayed on her nest as I passed by.

Another time as I climbed up to water a hanging basket on the balcony, a bunch of baby birds jumped out - never knew they were there. 2 years ago I noticed that everytime I watered the pots on the patio a bird flew out. I checked, and sure enough there were a bunch of baby birds in a pocket of straw under the yucca. (That was a really rough summer. When I was outside working I could hear the babies crying for food. When I looked in all I saw were open mouths. I had to keep taking breaks to allow her to feed them. The patio was something of a time-share that summer.) Last summer there was a nest in the climbing rose against the house on the patio but due to my knee surgery I didn't see it until it was abandoned, another nest in the pear tree (too high), and when I pulled up the overly aggressive Sweet Autumn clematis I found a nest in there - thankfully that was in late fall, but I still felt bad about destroying the nest. In the front yard there are 3 wax myrtles at the foundation, and each one is claimed by atleast 1 mockingbird; they nest there every year.

And in case I haven't bent your ear enough yet, 2 years ago in late fall I decided to cut the top out of the crepe myrtle beside my front door. My house actually surrounds the tree on 3 sides and it was getting a bit large so I "crepe mangled" it. There was no nest so I didn't realize that I had just made a half dozen or so birds homeless. A few days later when I turned on the porch light after dark, I was surprised to see a bunch of birds flying around frantically. As I am not accustomed to seeing birds flying around at 11PM, I didn't know what to make of this. Next time I turned on the outside light to bring in some things after dark, same strange behavior. So I looked up overhead and there silhouetted against the overhead porch light were 3 birds inside the fixture and sitting on the metal rim of the globe. (Note that the light is 20' high and I shudder to think what I will do when the bulb burns out.) I quickly turned the light off. For the remainder of that fall and winter, the displaced birds roosted in the light fixture, and I never turned it on again until the next summer when the crepe myrtle grew new limbs and they apparently moved back "home". Guests, pizza delivery guys, etc would ring the door bell, and I'd explain that I could not turn the light on because the birds were sleeping. They would give me that "Twilight Zone" look.

We're having babies!!!
Magpye
NW Qtr, AR
(Zone 6a)

March 30, 2006
6:43 PM

Post #2150739

Super-duubble HOO-RAY and YIP-PEE .. scutler!! Yep, that's 'bird' time for ya!!
((It was difficult to tell how truly xcited you are!)) .. LOL ..

* Note also: the birds have no idea about Daylight Savings Time either. We 'human beans' seem to be the only life form that 'need' it! .. hee

Your hanging basket story .. reminded me of the wrens that insisted on building theirs, in our fern baskets, back in Louisiana.
Quoting:Guests, pizza delivery guys, etc would ring the door bell, and I'd explain that I could not turn the light on because the birds were sleeping. They would give me that "Twilight Zone" look.

scutler .. dontcha know, you provide some of the best ol (unprepared for) .. 'Smileys' .. when I read your fascinating tales!!

- Magpye

This message was edited Mar 30, 2006 2:45 PM

billyporter

billyporter
Nichols, IA
(Zone 5a)

March 30, 2006
8:10 PM

Post #2150939

We're having babies! Beautiful roses! I've always loved the H. musk, but I read they need good support as they get very heavy.

Crepe mangled. Love that description. You have had more birds than you realized.

I have two wren houses on the clothesline, so she scolds me, but I don't think she means it. She just has to make it look good. And what swingset with open ends haven't seen a wren. Yes, I think they like us.

I had a barns swallow nest on top of our outdoor light. One early morning I heard this thumping sound. No idea what it could be. I went out and Mrs. b swallow was beating her wings as she sat on the nest. ??? The nest was right outside my kitchen window and it was about 5:30am. She had a reason.
Joan6aON
Mississauga, ON
(Zone 6a)

March 30, 2006
10:08 PM

Post #2151167

I sure am enjoying this thread scutler. You're a good story teller and the story you're telling is just great.

Waiting for the egg pictures. I'm almost as excited as you are. he he

Joan

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

March 30, 2006
11:14 PM

Post #2151324

billy, yes, but with several of them I missed the show and found the nest afterward. Also, I am particularly excited about having earned the trust of the cardinals.

I'm convinced that I had a ruby throat nest 3 years ago. It was the last year before my knee injury and subsequent surgeries. The garden was overflowing with wall to wall blooms, and I kept 2 feeders stocked. It seemed like the hummers never left the garden. Anytime I went out, there they were. They even came over and sat on branches of small trees incredibly near me. Sometimes I'd hear them buzz past my head. I never saw the nest, but when the babies started flying they always seemed to come from the same tree in a little "swarm". The tree was beside one of the feeders. The male defended that feeder, agressively reserving it for his brood.

Last summer in the aftermath of 2 surgeries, walking was SO painful I neglected even to put the feeder out until sometime mid summer when a female hummer flew right up to my face and hovered for what seemed an incredible eternity. It seems she was saying, "he you, I've got mouths to feed.where's the grub?" I immediately hobbled back inside for the feeder, and she spent the rest of the season perched on a rose branch outside my bedroom window between feedings. This year I had the feeder out ahead of the migration.

The mockingbirds that "own" the wax myrtles used to scold me when I spent to much time in the front yard; eventually they quit bothering. Last year one of them kept following me around the backyard. She always stayed nearby. I got more than a few pictures. I thought her behavior strange. Eventually, I decided she probably had babies in the area and was keeping an eye on me lest I bother them. Mockingbirds are known to attack people who come to close to their nests. Thankfully, mine never got that hostile.

You said the barnswallow had a reason. Did you leave the light on? Ouch.

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

March 30, 2006
11:27 PM

Post #2151355

Thank you so much, Joan.

I got them! But I didn't realize that she was on the nest. I accidentally scared her off the nest. Boy was she mad. She scolded me plenty! I could have sworn I heard some birdy curse words in there.

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DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

March 30, 2006
11:31 PM

Post #2151359

Looks like there are 3. I checked the literature and they are the right color - light greenish.

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DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

March 30, 2006
11:33 PM

Post #2151369

up really close - sense this may be our last look at them while they still have shells.

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DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

March 30, 2006
11:37 PM

Post #2151376

ok, ok, I'm cheating a bit. this is the same picture, but could only get just so many photos while she was yelling at me.

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Magpye
NW Qtr, AR
(Zone 6a)

March 31, 2006
12:04 AM

Post #2151440

Now, if that haint some of the purtiest lil specked ditties ya ever did see!?! .. Awesome!!!
Oooo, I'd've scolded ya too! (hee) But am sure grateful for your determination .. and for sacking the shots of 'em embryos!

Well, I RE-learned a lil tidbit this evening. Have flat out forgotten this about the Cardinal. From the dictionary > Cardinal: a North American crested grosbeak, of which the male has bright red plumage and a black face and throat. (or, perhaps I've never known!)

Okay .. As you're being an 'expectant' Mom along with the missus C - - the cardinal rule shall be that the human 'spectant momma be on the vigilant look-out for the disgusting brown-headed cowbirds to the community! ..Ya gotta pwomiss now, scut .. (heehee)

Thank you .. for sharing your backyard life with us, scut ..

- Magpye
dax080
Cedar Rapids, IA
(Zone 5a)

March 31, 2006
12:20 AM

Post #2151475

Congratulations, Gramma! Remember, it's your job to spoil them when they are born - maybe in another few years I'll be able to be a gramma too - I have a pair, but this is only the second year and they won't let me get too close yet - Your experience is a great lesson in patience!! Thanks!! Dax

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

March 31, 2006
12:23 AM

Post #2151486

Magpye, I didn't know they were grosbeaks, will have to check that out. I did know about the cowbird issue. You'll notice that I mentioned they are the right color. I checked several sites to get info for comparison; didn't want to let my new little friend raise somebody else's babies. Actually, from what I've seen, the two types of eggs are very close in size and color - except that the cardinal eggs are slightly smaller, have a slight greenish tint, and darker specks. I think we're good there. Actually, I haven't ever noticed a brown headed cowbird in my yard and I don't think there's any cattle nearby so hopefully we'll be ok.

I am worried about that racoon though!

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

March 31, 2006
12:37 AM

Post #2151516

Thank you, Dax. Actually, I've been wondering if others had the same experience with the cardinals - being so shy, I mean. I'm serious, the 1st year they only watched the feeder from afar. The 2nd year and 3rd years they would only feed when I was inside. I would get so frustrated with myself when I would forget and rush out the back door without checking first - and would see the male fly away. The 4th year they sometimes came to the feeder IF I was on the far side of the yard with lots of trees and shrubs and stuff between us and if I was sitting on my garden "scoot" with my back to them and did not get up. This is the summer of the 5th year. This spring they finally started to venture into the yard with me nearby and looking at them. The photo of her at the top of this thread was a 1st for us. I was surprised that she came that close and even more surprised that she stayed while I raised the camera and snapped a few pics. Hang in there, you will win them over in time. Oh, and "it's you're job to spoil them" - that is SO cute! And don't worry, I will, I'm already out scouting for cardinal treats and toys, planning trips to the park and zoo...ok, maybe that's a bit much...we'll see.
Joan6aON
Mississauga, ON
(Zone 6a)

March 31, 2006
1:17 AM

Post #2151621

How long does it take before they'll hatch.

I'll accept an estimate ~:-)

Joan

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

March 31, 2006
1:18 AM

Post #2151623

Ok, now about that pesky racoon...help me out here. Below is a (out of focus) view of the nest from the patio side. I don't think that fella wants to do battle with those roses (Freddy Kruger), but I'm a bit concerned about this side and the side against the arbor as seen in the "egg" photos above. On the arbor side the nest is very, very close - like 0" away. On this side it's a bit farther away but the gap between those branches is several inches.

I could take a few large rose cuttings and attach them to those sides to increase the protection. (With over 200 roses, that's no problem.lol) I'm thinking that Alba Meidiland would be excellent here. It grows like crazy and I need to do some serious pruning anyhow. Being a groundcover or landscape variety the branches are super small and close together and covered with thorns. It's like velcro with thorns. (It reached out and grabbed one of the guys who was doing work on the house last year and you should have heard that grown man screaming - and the other guys laughing at him. It was all wrapped around his legs. I had to go over and free him - and I had to "talk him down off the ledge" to get him to be still and let me pull the branches off. But that's another story...)

So, it might not be a 100% guarantee, but I sure think it would help to discourage that 'coon. And I think it would help her to feel more hidden and shielded from me and the puppy. Do you think it would scare her away if I did that while she was off the nest?

Thumbnail by DreamOfSpring
Click the image for an enlarged view.

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

March 31, 2006
1:21 AM

Post #2151637

Web says 11-13 days incubation and they leave the nest some 7-13 days after that. But remember Momma Cardinal isn't following the rules.

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

March 31, 2006
1:26 AM

Post #2151647

Here is a link showing the arbor as it looked 2 summer ago. (http://davesgarden.com/pf/showimage/63361/ ).The nest is on the left side. The pink rose top left of the arbor is Paul's Hymalayan (sp? to lazy to check) Musk just getting started. The white rose far left is Alba Meidiland - and that is only 2 years growth! If I used cuttings of Alba, I would take them from another plant elsewhere in the garden.

billyporter

billyporter
Nichols, IA
(Zone 5a)

March 31, 2006
1:26 AM

Post #2151649

Scutler, I've never seen a cardinals nest or eggs. This is really interesting. I collect feathers, but I have an unhatched wren egg. I actually have 4 differerent eggs. I think you can get in trouble for possessing bird feathers and eggs, unless it only goes for eagle feathers. Most of mine come from pick-ups in the yard, but the special ones were on the back deck. Almost a gift.

I've had cowbirds. They chose a chipping sparrow to raise one of their young. The chick was huge. I felt so sorry for her doing her best to feed him/ her.

This message was edited Mar 30, 2006 8:31 PM

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

March 31, 2006
1:29 AM

Post #2151660

Here is another view of the arbor and nest - pretend like you don't see the weeds. The nest is about dead center in this photo. This is also from the patio side.

Thumbnail by DreamOfSpring
Click the image for an enlarged view.

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

March 31, 2006
1:41 AM

Post #2151697

billy, please tell me you didn't steal viable eggs. oh, I just don't want to know. As for the legalities, last year a titmouse was determined to destroy my house. (If you haven't seen that thread, you should check it out. it's all true and unbelievable.) I tried EVERYTHING including some pretty crazy things - I was desperate. As nothing worked and has he completely destroyed 3 screens and showed no sign of stopping, I considered "offing" him. That's when I learned that almost all wild birds (with a very few exceptions for what are considered pest birds and for game birds) are protected by both federal and, in most cases, state laws. It is illegal to kill, trap, capture, relocate, or otherwise harm them EVEN if they are damaging your property. It is also illegal to mess with their nests, damage the nests including even old and abandoned nests, and to own a birds nest of any kind. I think taking eggs is covered under bothering the nest. (But note that I am neither an attorney nor a law enforcement official so you don't want to get your legal info from me.)

I did walk through the arbor and snap a quick pic but did not touch the nest or harm it in any way - nor would I ever consider doing so. I look forward to seeing her raise a healthy, happy brood.

billyporter

billyporter
Nichols, IA
(Zone 5a)

March 31, 2006
1:59 AM

Post #2151756

My eggs were found on the ground, and the wren was a very late fall find. I don't know if a cat got the mama or not. The eggs have a special spot in my gasss corner cabinets. I think one is a turtle dove egg. I had half a robins shell, but it fell apart. I've been fascinated by baby birds and nests since I was little and the robin chased us away from her nest in the grapevines. We also had an old piano on the porch and a robin made a nest on top 2 years in a row. I still think the robin has the most fascinating egg color. I've always respected never destroyed.

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

March 31, 2006
2:32 AM

Post #2151860

Whew! That's good to hear. : ) I don't see any harm in keeping the "lost" eggs.
melvatoo
Denton, TX
(Zone 7a)

March 31, 2006
4:51 AM

Post #2152088

I love the Cardinals, too..if I could fill the feeder just for them, I would. I read somewhere, where they are the first to come to the feeder in the morning...and the last, at night, and it sure seems that way...I think they are gorgeous!

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

March 31, 2006
5:11 AM

Post #2152097

I am glad to see that so many people out there feel this way. I recently read in a birder's magazine that cardinal's are often unwelcome at the feeder because they are so "common"; apparently, only unusual birds are desirable. The article suggested that they are colorful and hence would be popular if they just weren't so common. I agree with you. They are gorgeous and I wish they were MORE common. I'd like a yard full of them.

I didn't know they were 1st at the feeder in the morning, but I have seen that they are last there in the evenings, even staying after it's semi-dark. Have you noticed that when 1 of the pair is at the feeder the other is somewhere nearby keeping watch, maybe in a tree or bush at the edge of the yard?

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

March 31, 2006
5:16 AM

Post #2152099

Cardinals are also territorial. In winter they will permit other cardinals that are not part of the pair to come to the feeder. In spring and summer while raising their families only the pair that owns your yard along with their babies are tolerated at the feeder. They don't mind if other types of birds use the feeder, just not other cardinals.
melvatoo
Denton, TX
(Zone 7a)

March 31, 2006
8:13 AM

Post #2152152

Often I hear them outside at the feeder, when it is still kind of dark, in the morning. I love to watch the juviniles, you will get to enjoy them too...I would feed just them, if I could. I have a hard time in the winter, keeping the feeder full, because the Sparrow family just lives there and they kick out all the seed..now if the Cardinals could keep it secret, that the feeder is full...they always know, as they check it every day, when it is empty...


This message was edited Mar 31, 2006 3:14 AM

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

March 31, 2006
11:14 AM

Post #2152234

Actually, I had juveniles last year. The cardinal family has lived nearby for a while, probably in the edge of the adjoining forest. This is just the 1st time they've built so close to my house. The one thing I noticed about the young ones last summer was that they were less afraid of me than the parents were - and I really enjoyed the opportunity to get so much closer to them.

I guess I'm lucky in that I don't have any problem birds that throw the seed out, etc. My biggest feeder problem is Mr Raccoon. I have found that what I put in the feeder makes a big difference. I use black oil sf seeds, safflower, and nyger, each in a seperate bin. In the past, I had problems when I used mixed seed types that included cracked corn, etc. That seemed to attract some annoying birds and to cause each bird to toss out what he didn't want in pursuit of what he did.
dax080
Cedar Rapids, IA
(Zone 5a)

March 31, 2006
1:23 PM

Post #2152469

Thanks for all the info, Scutler, since I also have been wondering if it's just me and now know I can hang in there. I think the idea about putting some additional rose branches on the open side is a great idea!! I'm not the expert, however, but if she is allowing you such close proximity, and is gone from the nest, I don't think it would cause any harm (other than her probably scolding you royally!!) - Again, however, I'm not the expert - Please keep all the pictures and info coming! Dax
melvatoo
Denton, TX
(Zone 7a)

March 31, 2006
1:49 PM

Post #2152541

I don't use the seed mixes that have millet, and corn...just the sunflower seed with safflower..but the sparrow family still manages to get most of it on the ground...very frustrating!

billyporter

billyporter
Nichols, IA
(Zone 5a)

March 31, 2006
7:10 PM

Post #2153268

How could anyone not think the cardinal is spectacular or unique! They actually prefer to feed on the ground, as do sparrows. They do come to my ''Stop a Squirrel'' feeder and use the perch tho. I put out nothing but black oil sunflower seeds. The finches get the niger and the suet feeders, get high energy suet all winter. I got rid of the cage suet feeder and went to the box that has the suet underneath. No more starlings! I too see nothing wrong with adding the rose canes. We'll be heart broken if she loses her eggs now. As I said, if you're desperate, cheap cat food will attract the raccoon.
Magpye
NW Qtr, AR
(Zone 6a)

March 31, 2006
8:10 PM

Post #2153411

Yep .. billyporter, that'd work ..
(but, scutler: chunk it over into your furtherest neighbor's yard - so's to attract 'em in a whole nuther direction!) .. LOL
(jes kiddin' folks)

- Magpye
tigerlily
Tiller, OR
(Zone 8a)

March 31, 2006
9:31 PM

Post #2153597

I'm so envious! I've never even SEEN a cardinal! Thanks so much for sharing this experience.

A few summers ago I was startled at the sound of a bird at around midnight. About the 3rd time I heard it, I decided to go investigate. I discovered a juvenile blackbird feeding on the moths under the dusk to dawn light, and it kept smashing into the house. It only stopped after I captured it and took it to trees away from the light. Silly bird!

billyporter

billyporter
Nichols, IA
(Zone 5a)

March 31, 2006
10:29 PM

Post #2153706

You are so kind. Blackbirds are not everyone's favorite bird, but a baby is a baby isn't it?
Funny that the blackbird family consists of orioles, meadowlarks, bobolinks, grackles and cowbirds.

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 1, 2006
8:35 PM

Post #2155804

Well, so far I haven't taken any action except..

Friday I called the local office of the US Dept of Wildlife and the SC Wildlife Dept and the Clemson Ext Service to ask about this matter. Not unexpectedly, they all thought me a bit "kookoo". They were unanimous in their opinion that I should "but out" and leave nature alone. Hmmm, odd opinion for agencies which EXIST to intervene on behalf of nature... One suggested that I might be able to get the raccoons captured and killed. I appreciate the thought, but while I'm trying to help the Cardinal; I don't really want to order the execution of the 3 or more raccoons who haven't done anything - yet. - and are really only doing what raccoons do.

Don't laugh but last night I ran out not once but twice in my PJ's when I heard some animal outside my bedroom window. The 2nd time even got the dog barking so, in a moment of panic, fearing "my" precious little eggs might already be "scrambled", I turned on a yard full of flood lights and ran out ready to fight. Heck, I probably scared her more than the critter did! Boy it's going to be a long 13 days.

Also, day and night, whether working or walking the dog, I find that I am tip-toeing about the garden trying not to wake the "babies" or upset the new mom. It's a small garden. Now it's a nursery.
Joan6aON
Mississauga, ON
(Zone 6a)

April 1, 2006
9:17 PM

Post #2155863

So nice to have your own personal nursery.

Keeping a close eye on this thread, that's for sure.

Joan
GoldenDomer
Northern, IN

April 1, 2006
9:34 PM

Post #2155887

OK, now you've finally done it. Even I'm starting to get "labor pains".

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 1, 2006
10:18 PM

Post #2156021

lolol. : )

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 1, 2006
10:39 PM

Post #2156086

Just came in from pulling a few weeds (while holding my camera) ... and, ok, trying to sneak a peak at mom and babies without looking TOO nosey. I was weeding closer, and closer, ... there I was with my "cup" against the proverbial door as both mom AND dad returned home - busted AGAIN.

They stopped in the heavy cover on top of the arbor near ,but not on, the nest. As I was only about 5' away from the nest, I put my head and eyes down and backed away slowly, shoulders down, trying to convey a non-threatening posture. I sat down in a chair on the patio where I was still only 10' or so away. With that, she promptly hopped back on the nest right in front of me. It was such an AWESOME moment! It was as if she understood what I was trying to "say" - that I was not a threat and that I was giving her space. He even stayed on top of the arbor for a while but flew away when I tried to maneuver into postition for a much coveted photograph.

For some time now I have noticed that the males seem to be much less trusting than the females. The females were 1st each step of the way in getting closer to me: 1st to come to the feeder, 1st to stay in the yard with me, etc. I thought about this and decided that the males bright color is a liablility that makes him just POP out against almost any background - it's the complete antithesis to camo. So I figure that's why he is less social. He knows he's a target with a big bullseye on his back.

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 1, 2006
11:09 PM

Post #2156131

ok, now that I've "developed" the pics from my snooping efforts...Here is one from before the couple returned. I was hoping maybe I could see something when I zoomed in, but actually she wasn't there anyhow.

Thumbnail by DreamOfSpring
Click the image for an enlarged view.

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 1, 2006
11:14 PM

Post #2156144

And here is one after...see the touch of red top right, that's her head! Ok, ok, it's not much but I'm new at this snooping thing, and she's obviously a professional nest builder because it holds her and the eggs quite well.

I have a macro lens but can't get it on the camera because the adapter for my lens cover is stuck. : (
It's a known issue with this camera and one that I only learned about AFTER it was too late.

Thumbnail by DreamOfSpring
Click the image for an enlarged view.

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 2, 2006
5:42 PM

Post #2157825

Ok, I'm not really trying to drive the cardinal family crazy but they are right smack outside my back door, right beside the patio, and at the intersection of two of my most heavily traveled garden paths...and it's that time of year when new plants, bulbs, blooms, etc are popping up everywhere. So it's inevitable that our "path" (no pun...) will cross.

While she was away, I took advantage of the opportunity to check out and photograph my plants on the arbor path, esp near the arbor - where I just spied the 1st bloom of clematis pink champagne atop the arbor. She never seems to be too far away. She returned. She is really getting used to having me around. I was maybe 6' from the nest when she returned and, astonishingly, hopped right past me and onto the nest. I tried to grab a picture. I didn't have time to focus, zoom, anything - just point the thing in that direction and hope for the best. Well, the best wasn't all that good. Here is the photo. She is a blur on the right side; I added a circle around her. The nest is on the arbor mid left edge of photo. It was so incredible to have her come back so close to me. I think the opportunity to get so close to them has been more exciting than the eggs.

Thumbnail by DreamOfSpring
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DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 2, 2006
5:48 PM

Post #2157838

Here is todays pic of the nest. No real change - it's a little like watching grass grow - but I think she did add some screening on this side - see that section of paper she "stole" from my compost pile? I think that's a little like pulling the curtains closed when you see annoying folks outside peeking in. lol

This message was edited Apr 2, 2006 1:49 PM

Thumbnail by DreamOfSpring
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billyporter

billyporter
Nichols, IA
(Zone 5a)

April 3, 2006
10:57 PM

Post #2161071

If anything, I'm enjoying the green of your rosebush! The males are aggressivly territorial and are good to guard the family. They kind of take over the young when they leave the nest. I'm glad you figured out their due date.

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 4, 2006
12:26 AM

Post #2161271

Hi billy, so good to hear from you. I was starting to feel like I was talking to myself. lol - not like it would be the 1st time!

I am SO enjoying this opportunity to observe the happy couple up close. And yes, the new father is ALWAYS hanging around nearby, and he fusses at me often. Today, I had to rake up clippings in that area to prepare for mowing. He was in the neighbor's crabapple tree "talking" to me. I kind of felt a little sorry for him; it sounded like he was asking me not to harm his family. Then again, maybe he was just over there making a lot of noise trying to distract my attention away from his family. It's a real up close lesson in nature.

There are also times when I'm tired of having to tip-toe around my garden. Sunday I assembled some large planters on the patio, along with a deck box, and a tractor scooter. I hated having to be doing all of that so close to her, but time, tide, and summer wait for no woman, or something like that. I just sat on the patio with my back to her. She stayed in her nest, eyeing me cautiously (or so it seemed when I did get a peek).

She is letting me work very close to her now. She seems to be becoming somewhat desensitized to my presence. Today I picked up rose clipping up to 1' from her, walked to within 2' of her on another side to pull the bag of clippings (that had been there SO long) off of the bag holder, and even rolled that huge trash bin (the one the city gives you to roll trash to the curb) along the path beside her. During all of that she stayed on the nest. The 1st few days she would have flown away before I got that close.

From what I've read the male is supposed to feed her while she's minding the eggs. I do see him coming and going a lot when I'm not around. I also see her making quick trips to the nearby feeder. There is a birdbath across the yard. Sunday I put another one on the patio so she will have water close by. I'm trying to change the water every few days now since I know that she can't afford to go very far away in search of cleaner water if it gets icky.

Here she is on the nest today - head facing right. 7 days to go.

Thumbnail by DreamOfSpring
Click the image for an enlarged view.

billyporter

billyporter
Nichols, IA
(Zone 5a)

April 4, 2006
1:25 AM

Post #2161422

I wonder if the unhatched chicks hear the different chips and chirps of the parents so they are familiar with it when they do hatch?

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 5, 2006
6:02 PM

Post #2166108

I believe the eggs shells are somewhat porous to permit oxygen through, so that plus conduction of sound waves through surrounding materials should allow them to "hear" to some degree. I feel sure that some type of bonding is going on between mother and babies right now.

Lately, she seems to be on that nest ALWAYS. I have not found the nest empty in days. I put a birdbath about 8' from her, and the male brings her seeds. Yesterday, the male came back while I was outside. He sat in the neighbors crabapple and "clicked" to her. He was SO beautiful - the most fabulous and intense red ever. The crabapple has bright candy apple red buds and pink and white flowers. It was an awesome backdrop for such a gorgeous bird - and me without a camera!

At one point when I was elsewhere in the garden, I heard a loud, bird-screeching,fighting sound coming from the arbor. I hurried over to find birds "fighting". I couldn't tell which birds, they were just a fast moving blur. I yelled at them. They parted and went in different directions in the tangle of roses. One of them was a mockingbird on top of the arbor. I stood and fussed and him/her for a while, thinking that he was bothering the cardinal. In prior years the mockingbirds have been territorial; one year they repeatedly chased the bluebirds out of the garden : (

Then I saw this. oops! My garden is home to many families. I think I interrupted something...

Thumbnail by DreamOfSpring
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billyporter

billyporter
Nichols, IA
(Zone 5a)

April 6, 2006
12:30 AM

Post #2167020

Aaawww, good picture. Your photos come out so clear. I bet if anyone gets near Mama cardinal, Papa will be right there. I bet she appreciates having water closer. I don't know how long they can be off the eggs. Does the male ever sit on them? How many days to hatching now? I've lost track.

9kittymom

9kittymom
Bartlesville, OK
(Zone 6a)

April 6, 2006
12:43 AM

Post #2167047

This is so exciting. I have many cardinal pairs, but I don't know where their nests are.

This morning a pair of mourning doves were in a romantic mood. At least he was. LOL He kept cooing and cooing to her and she kept trying to avoid him. It was comical to watch his neck puff out when he cooed.

I just love this time of year.

Susan
=^..^=
IRIS
Greenville, SC
(Zone 7a)

April 6, 2006
1:18 AM

Post #2167130

What interesting photos and stories! I'll have to keep an eye on this thread and see how all progresses! I myself, Would put the other 'Freddy Kruger' pieces in the open spots if it bothers you, I've done a lot work around my cardinal nests and they never abandoned the nest or seemed too distraught about it, They'd fly off if I got too close, But always came back ( It's not like I bothered them a real lot though, I just had some things to get done by where the nest was) It would be good to keep in mind that raccoons and most animals like 'easy meals', Not usually something they would have to get all picked up for, ( Theres always an exception depending on how hungry they are)Also, They are usually nocternal ( Though they are out during the day sometimes) and all birds sit silently, without movement, On there nest, so unless there is smell or movement, The raccoons will usually not bother and will instead go in the direction of a food smell. Glad your keeping watch over them, And I look forwad to all the new news on them!

billyporter

billyporter
Nichols, IA
(Zone 5a)

April 6, 2006
1:35 AM

Post #2167173

I go out to get the paper at the end of the driveway and I just stop and listen to the birds. All of them are singing. The robins are just starting to make nests now that we have mud!

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 6, 2006
1:43 AM

Post #2167208

Hi billy, I think this is H-6 day. No, I've never seen the dad on the nest. From what I've read, he will only bring food to her, and later to the babies. His flaming red color would give away the secret location in a hurry. Her subdued color works really well; she blends nicely with the nest. Check out the photo below. Oh, and thanks for the compliment on the photos. Actually, I'm using a very powerful camera - and doing so very badly - but while the camera is capable of doing much better when "driven" correctly, it, none the less, raises my score considerably. (It has a dial with maybe 2 dozen settings; I only recently learned to used a second one.lol.and it's been a year) But the mockingbirds are not at all shy; they are the opposite of the cardinals, so they stayed put for a while allowing me quite a few attempts.

In the photo, her head faces right (toward the arbor), and her tail points left. I have noticed that she always sits in this same direction. Behind her is about 4-5' of rose thicket. I doubt anything could get through there in one piece. By sitting this way she has a good view of the 2 sides that are more open and of the lattice panel on the arbor (thats where I point the camera to get pics of the eggs so it's the most exposed and that's where her beak is!). You can barely make her out in the photo and then only because of the red line on her tail feathers and the red on top of her head.

Thumbnail by DreamOfSpring
Click the image for an enlarged view.

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 6, 2006
1:46 AM

Post #2167217

Hi Susan, Yes, isn't this such a MAGICAL time of year! Hang in there. You never know which morning you will walk out to catch a cardial putting finishing touches on her nest!

billyporter

billyporter
Nichols, IA
(Zone 5a)

April 6, 2006
1:54 AM

Post #2167237

Duh, I never considered his brilliance! And I think I know so much, laugh. It is amazing you ever found her nest. I bet one of the little ones nest there next year and one of their brood the next, etc. You won't have to worry about scaring them off anymore. They've established a safe place to nest and a memory of it. You're all set!

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 6, 2006
2:15 AM

Post #2167285

Hi IRIS, I feel so compelled to share this incredible experience. I'm glad that you are there and are enjoying it. Although I have found the racoon in the yard in the daytime a few times, when I heard the ruckus today, I wasn't thinking racoon. I just knew something was going on over there, and I was planning to get in the middle of it. Thanks for giving me your opinion on the issue of adding cover to the open sides. I'm still thinking about it; figure they need it even more when the babies arrive.

She is getting very comfortable with me now. In the beginning, she would fly away if I got too close. Now, I can walk right up to the nest AND look her in the eye and she doesn't move. Before, when I was even 10' away, she raised her head up in the nest and followed my every move. Now, she seems to all but ignore me. I've pulled weeds from around the arbor, taken macro shots of the azaleas at the base, dragged my wheelbarrow and other equipment past her on the narrow path, etc and she never flies away. It's such an experience!

It is unseasonably dry here right now. I have an automatic watering system, but only use it for emergencies. Today I turned it on. After it ran for 1 hour ea in each of the 2 backyard sections, I walked outside to find Mama cardinal "playing" in the spray. She seemed to be enjoying the cool down. Temps here are around 80F. Even after the sprinkler stopped, she and hubbie flitted about in the saturated willow tree, causing little glistening raindrops in the tree to "rain" down on them repeatedly, all the while talking like crazy. Then she hopped into the smaller, shallow birdbath and bathed for what seemed an eternity. Eventually, he flew away and she flew over to the other rose thicket - an overgrown rambler on a section of fence at the corner of the house. I decided to do a 2nd sprinkler run, for the plants and her. The sprinkler controls are mounted on the back corner of the house right by that rose. She was maybe 3' away. I walked over, opened the cover, pressed the manual button, turned and walked back over to the garden bench; she did not fly away! She really is getting comfortable around me! She would never have done that before. Finally, on her way back to the nest, she flew right past me.

Also, while she and hubbie were in the tree, I took advantage of the opportunity to peek in and check "our" eggs. Neither of them seemed alarmed. They didn't come running back to defend the nest. They didn't scold me. Nothing.

I tried to get pics of them in the willow. Haven't downloaded them yet to see if anything is viable. Not too hopeful, but if I do get anything, I'll post it later.

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 6, 2006
2:30 AM

Post #2167316

billy, what a wonderful thought - having them return each year to the nest area. I hope you are right. On that note, a cardinal pair raised some chicks in my yard last year. I never saw the nest but noticed the babies when the parents introduced them to the feeder. The youngsters stayed around my yard for the rest of the summer. I noticed that they were more "tame" than the parents. They would fly right up to the little 10' tree beside me and sit there. I remember thinking that they were probably so much more comfortable around me because they had grown up around me. Maybe one or more of the new parents IS one of those that fledged here last summer. Maybe the individuals did not go from afraid to enter the yard to this level of comfort. Maybe the generations did so.

billyporter

billyporter
Nichols, IA
(Zone 5a)

April 6, 2006
2:48 AM

Post #2167426

It's possible. You have something to look forward to for sure!

This message was edited Apr 5, 2006 10:12 PM
Magpye
NW Qtr, AR
(Zone 6a)

April 6, 2006
2:56 AM

Post #2167590

Howdy scutler ..

Jes wanted to drop in long enuff to try to 'ketchup' (hee) .. and to mention, that altho' I may not post each day - I'm tryin' my best to keep the thread monitored for your updates.

And am still enjoying your posts of documenting your wonderful birding days while going about life .. in your yarden!

I've always wondered if the vermin and critters (in our lives and yards), can maybe hear our lil giggles or see the joy in our hearts .. from being 'in tune' to their lives. I sure nuff like to think so .. and can't anyone tell me any different, either! .. (heehee)

((huggs))

- Magpye

This message was edited Apr 5, 2006 9:57 PM
Joan6aON
Mississauga, ON
(Zone 6a)

April 6, 2006
5:04 PM

Post #2168733

We hear ya Magpye and it makes our little ol' hearts go pit-a-pat to know that you are so joyful.

The gang.

Thumbnail by Joan6aON
Click the image for an enlarged view.

angele

April 6, 2006
5:08 PM

Post #2168744

scutler, I too have been enjoying this thread from the start and loving it :)
Magpye
NW Qtr, AR
(Zone 6a)

April 6, 2006
6:34 PM

Post #2168927

That's adorable ..and ohhhh so very sweet, Joan! Sure do luv the lil lop-eared bunny stretched out in the shade ..
(Ya know, I think I may have been a chipmunk in a previous life!) .. LOL ..

((huggs))

- Magpye
dax080
Cedar Rapids, IA
(Zone 5a)

April 6, 2006
7:25 PM

Post #2169043

And I'm stopping by to also give my heartiest cheers - my favorite thread - I'm so pleased that the two pairs in my yard are so peaceful living in the same area - now it looks like I'm going to start checkin out the area to see if I can find a nest (or two?) I'm going to try to get a couple of pictures this weekend to show you all - I certainly don't have the MARVELOUS story that scutler has, but at least the male stays in the vicinity if I'm not closer than 10' (hey, that's progress since just a couple of weeks ago he'd fly away at anything closer than 25'). I may not talk alot, but I'm watching this thread every day!! Love it - Dax
IRIS
Greenville, SC
(Zone 7a)

April 6, 2006
10:44 PM

Post #2169456

enjoyed todays photo and story, Will be keeping watch!!

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 7, 2006
1:38 PM

Post #2170950

Sorry that I wasn't able to fill you in on yesterdays events - just didn't have time. I am SO very happy to hear from all of you who are following and enjoying the saga of the cardinal family. I am hopeful that we may have babies soon, perhaps this weekend. Have much to tell you. Will be back this evening. Again, it is VERY good to know that you are there.
angele

April 7, 2006
1:49 PM

Post #2170989

:))
Floridian
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)


April 7, 2006
2:49 PM

Post #2171189

What fun to have such a great encounter with your cardinals. We found a nest in a tree out back. Too bad that when I look at it I only see the bottom of the nest. We look forward to the cardinal babies each spring. They line up on a fence near a feeder to be fed...quite a sight

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 8, 2006
6:47 AM

Post #2173267

Hi Magpye, so good to hear that you are stopping by, and I sure would love to believe that the critters can see that we want to be "friends".

Dax, you are way ahead of me. I can't get that close to the male still!

Thanks, angele. Thanks, IRIS. Thanks to all of you for being there. For a while there I was afraid the 13 days of "Here are the eggs, no change" and "Here's the nest with a red dot on top; that's the mom" were getting to be as exciting as waiting for water to boil. It is an incredible experience here, but not always sure if it translates well.

Floridian, hang in there. I looked at the bottom of an empty nest for 10 days. It sounds like the cardinal families are living near you. It's just a matter of time until you venture out early one morning to find one putting the finishing trim on a nest in your garden.

Here is the latest news and a few things I've noticed:

The eggs are looking a bit dull and dry. Must be a good sign...

Thursday night when I took the dog out, I had to chase the raccoon out of the garden. I was a little late taking the birdseed in. Have to be more careful. I left the outside light on hoping that would deter him from returning. Friday morning I was almost afraid to look, but, yes, she was still there in her nest. Whew! That scared me, so think i will try to attach the extra rose branches this weekend if I get a chance when she's away from the nest.

Thursday, when my camera battery had died, I saw a pair of Thrashers in the baby crabapple (only 5' so more of a big shrub for now). They were playing "catch" as they flew over to the fence. I ran for my spare battery but too late. It seems as though my little garden has become something of a lover's lane for birds. That's the 4th happy couple I've spied this week. (and they add so much to the atmosphere of the garden)

Ok, this one surprised me. It seems like at least once each day the male comes by and she leaves the nest and they spend time together - without the kids. Call me a silly romantic, but it actually looks like they are spending a little time each day pair-bonding and working on their relationship. During that interval each day, they go elsewhere in the yard and hang out together in a tree somewhere - like Wednesday when they were in the willow, playing in the sprinkler shower. It seems a lot like a dinner date or a movie.

Here is a quick pic I nabbed of the happy father to be. He's in the neighbor's crabapple (I love that tree!) looking over toward his new family and calling to her. Isn't that sweet.


Thumbnail by DreamOfSpring
Click the image for an enlarged view.

9kittymom

9kittymom
Bartlesville, OK
(Zone 6a)

April 8, 2006
3:30 PM

Post #2173809

What a beautiful picture.
Susan
=^..^=

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 8, 2006
6:11 PM

Post #2174166

thank you, Susan. Love your signature emotive. How fitting. The male cardinal is so stunning when viewed against that crabapple tree in bloom. I didn't get time to worry about focusing, etc. He was only there for a moment before he flew over to join her.But I was very happy to get this photo op.

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 8, 2006
6:24 PM

Post #2174190

check this out. she lets me walk up to her now, but she's not too sure if she likes having that camera pointed at her.

Edited to ask: Is it just me or does she seem to be sitting higher in the nest lately? Maybe it's just wishful thinking.

This message was edited Apr 8, 2006 2:26 PM

Thumbnail by DreamOfSpring
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Joan6aON
Mississauga, ON
(Zone 6a)

April 8, 2006
8:20 PM

Post #2174397

It's amazing how quickly they (animals/birds) catch on to the camera.

Can't say that I notice weather she's higher or not. Maybe Magpye can.

Keep 'em coming.

Regards, Joan

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 8, 2006
8:27 PM

Post #2174405

Uh. Oh. Those storms that have been moving across US are here NOW. 1" hail hitting house now: looked through French door.saw 1" balls sitting on patio. Fox news just indicated golf ball size hail reported on road coming to my house! Hope she will be ok out there. Hope that tangle of rose vines will be able to keep here safe! Now they are reporting funnel cloud here. Yikes! I anhored arbor in ground with cement but we have wet, clay soil so doubt if it will take much.

Fox indicating funnel touched down nearby.

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 8, 2006
8:36 PM

Post #2174422

Just heard that tornado is on ground near here. dog and i are in center bathroom. please prey for us and the cardinals!

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 8, 2006
9:49 PM

Post #2174559

Whew! looks like we may have dodged that bullet. one or more tornados appear to have touched down around us but we were not effected. the hail has stopped for now. looks like that storm cell has moved off shore now. it's still raining, but i just had to step outside to check on the cardinal. she is still there. looks like she has (for the 1st time) changed her position. suspect that she moved to find the best cover for her head. Isn't nature incredible? I saw 1" ice balls bouncing around on the patio and even staying (not melting) on the patio. Still that 2' section of rose branches managed to deflect the hail off of her as well as my house did us. I may consider adding more rose thickets to my garden and habitat. They seem to be the ultimate in cover and protection for birds.

Ok, now I know I am a geek! When the news indicated a tornado on ground near me, I turned up the TV volume, grabbed the dog and the laptop, and headed for the center bath. After I got in there it occurred to me that I probably should have taken the PHONE. Oops!

9kittymom

9kittymom
Bartlesville, OK
(Zone 6a)

April 8, 2006
9:51 PM

Post #2174570

LOL, I was wondering how you were on the computer and in the bathroom with the dog.

How so attached we are to our computers!!

Glad you are OK. I was scared for you and the birds.

Susan
=^..^=

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 8, 2006
10:24 PM

Post #2174615

Susan, thanks for thinking of us. Whew! That was pretty scarey! In OK, you are probably a tornado veteran. We almost never have them here. When they said one was on the ground in my community, I was freaking OUT! I was downloading photos from the camera to the laptop at the time. I yanked all the wires loose, grabbed the laptop in one hand and my 4.5lb maltese in the other and headed for the downstairs guest bath. Now I know where my values lie. Actually, the computer (thankfully I have wireless) turned out to be very helpful. I was able to barracade myself in and still keep track of the storm by watching streaming doppler radar in more or less real time. With the laptop I could track the tornado, see that the warning was extended, and know when the coast was clear. All that and I could look at my photos to try to distract myself.

While I was in there camping out, I had time to realize that if that's where I'm going for emergencies, it might be a good idea to stock the cabinet with emergency supplies ahead of time: radio, batteries, flashlight, candles, matches, first aid, etc. And next time, I'm going to try to remember to take the phone along.
angele

April 9, 2006
12:38 AM

Post #2174874

With the size of Dave's Garden there must be some of our 'family' that have been affected by these storms, I just got home from work & read your very dramatic experience all at once. I must say I am glad because I was holding my breath while I was reading it and was so happy to see all came through safe, 'specially you scutler & mama birdie too.

billyporter

billyporter
Nichols, IA
(Zone 5a)

April 9, 2006
1:20 AM

Post #2175047

Oh Scutler, I just let go of my breath too. That was intense. I almost felt I was there with you. Thank goodness you have a downstairs! I have no basement at all and luckily we we not home last weekend when Nichols got black and had tornadeos to the east and west. We did see the green sky. Catching up on the news here. I'll be back again.

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 9, 2006
3:31 AM

Post #2175402

Right after my last post, I lost power. That, of course, took out the wireless router, so no internet. (Now I need battery backup for the router.lol.I am hooked) Power is back but my network is still down. I need to go upstairs and reset it. Just had some large furniture delivered - blocking stairs - need to get that stuff put away. I was having DT's from DG's withdrawal. Then realized I could probably "hitch" a ride on a nearby wireless network, and sure enough here I am! Just temporarily borrowing a wee piece of the bandwidth...

Thank you, angele. Thank you, billy. I don't have a basement either (we are at or below sea level so basements aren't feasible here). I just have a 2 story house; which means that while the 1st story is the safest place to be, I still have to worry about being crushed by the 2nd story if it falls! I guess you are in an area that gets frequent tornados. I'm glad you were away when the recent storms came through your area.

I feel almost "guilty" now, knowing how badly some areas have been hit. The tornado that was near me turned out to be only an F0. But only minutes before the tv news announced a tornado on the ground right in my local vicinity - not just Charleston, but my section of Charleston, I was listening to a guy from TN telling about how he and his mom went into the closet to escape a tornado and how they were sucked out and tossed about and she was killed. That story was still ringing in my ears when I was sitting on the floor in my bathroom alone and holding my little dog. The tornado had been seen on a road just down the street from me, a road that I drive every day to get home! At that point, we didn't know it was only an F0. Anyhow, Last I heard there has only been property damage here: windows sucked out, roofs crashed in, that sort of thing, but no report of serious injuries.

And I wasn't kidding about the hail. I was planting a few things in the garden when the clouds were getting really dark. I sat on the patio - in the rain - and watched in awe as the storm developed. I was tempted to garden in the rain!!! But, having heard weather warnings on the news earlier, I forced myself to go inside when the rain got heavy. I was barely inside good when it began to sound like we were popping corn on the roof and I looked out to see 1" balls of ice on the patio where I had been only moments earlier! No sooner had I assessed the size of the ice balls at 1", when the news announced that 1" hail had been confirmed in my area by a weather service employee.

In my entire life, I have NEVER actually SEEN hail falling, let alone sitting on the ground. I have heard tiny hail the size of rain drops, the kind that melts almost on impact. These ice balls that ranged in size from 1/2" to 1" were sitting undisturbed all over the patio - and they STAYED there.

At that point I was only worried about the cardinal. Isn't it amazing how the thicket of thorns could absorb the energy and deflect the ice balls without any harm coming to a delicate little bird? I just think it is so awesome.

GRENTHUMBS
West Warwick, RI
(Zone 6b)

April 9, 2006
3:45 AM

Post #2175429

OMG! Scutler!
I have been reading your thread since you started it, when I ever checked in to see how your babies were doing and found this I to forgot to take a breath~ I'm so glad your ok!

Dena

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 9, 2006
4:08 PM

Post #2176259

still eggs : (

but after yesterday's theatrics, happy to still have an arbor - let alone a nest with eggs and a bird that still has all its feathers. : )

eggs are looking very, very DULL and DRY and weary. It can't be much longer. The change in the eggs is very noticeable! The specks and spots are lighter and are merging with the main color so that the eggs are becoming a dull, mottled light brownish color.

billyporter

billyporter
Nichols, IA
(Zone 5a)

April 9, 2006
8:08 PM

Post #2176730

I find your description of the eggs very interesting. I never knew that about them. You have opened a window for all of us!

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 10, 2006
1:11 AM

Post #2177443

Dena, thanks for caring. Last night I wrote you a nice response and then hit the wrong button and "poof" it was gone. I do that a lot. Anyhow, I was too tired to do it all again but wanted to say, "thanks".

billy, I wish that I had thought to get a picture to show the difference. TO LATE NOW!!!

This afternoon as I was working in my garden, I happened to walk by and notice that the mother cardinal was sitting way up high in the nest - so that all of her body was visible and she was eating. I did a doubletake and then realized that she was eating the evidence. When she saw me, she flew a short distance away. I wonder if she did not want me to see the evidence, the piece of shell that she was eating. I took a quick look. One little birdie had just been born!

I have had the most incredible luck during this experience - first to happen a long the moment she was finishing her nest and then to walk by right after the 1st baby bird had entered this world! If you have not had the experience to see a new born baby bird, let me describe it for you. It was tiny, wet, with no feathers, and having a wrinkled skin and garish, redish-purple color - much like a new born human baby. In short it looked a great deal like ET.

I was concerned about having caused her to leave at such a moment. I felt the newborn baby no doubt needed her. I hoped that she would not stay away too long. I ran inside to grab my camera figuring as long as she was away I might as well get a photo for all of you. When I got back she was already back on the nest, so, of course, I did not disturb her again.

When I returned with the carmera to find her back on the nest, I sat down on the patio to rest for a moment. As I looked up, I saw the familiar red figure of the father in a nearby tree. This time he was not clicking, he was singing loudly! He had been there for the birth. I'm not sure how he knew. I'm beginning to think that he has actually been nearby most of the time over the last couple of weeks. I have read that the cardinal pair are always together, that whenever you see one, if you look around you will find the other nearby and that one keeps watch while the other eats. I have found that to be true.Since reading that, whenever I have seen one in my yard, I have looked around for its partner and have always found it nearby - except, of course, for juveniles.

For the remainder of the day, I worked (and played) in my garden. Throughout that time, the click-click chatter of the male was almost constant, and I continued to see him from time to time, here and there about the garden. A few times I thought I heard the chirping of young birds, but it may have been coming from elsewhere.

I had so much to do. I stayed out in the garden pulling weeds until almost dark. I could see the male nearby waiting for his turn to eat and could hear him clicking loudly. It is almost as if he has learned that I will go in near dark. As his clicking grew louder and louder I almost thought that he might be fussing at me for staying so late. As I stepped in the door and turned to close it, I saw him hop from the little weeping cherry to the feeder.



DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 10, 2006
1:28 AM

Post #2177506

From what I've read the baby birds will leave the nest in 11 days, so around Apr 20th. The "experts" seem to be divided on the issue of who will care for the babies. Some say the father will do so while the mother goes away to build a new nest and start the 2nd brood. Others say that the 2 will share in the duties of feeding them. We shall soon know for sure. As I am having difficulty imagining the male spending time that close to the house when I am home and active in the garden, I suspect it will be the latter and that he will feed them while I am away and she will do so when I am at home, especially when I am working outside.
Marylyn_TX
Houston, TX
(Zone 9a)

April 10, 2006
1:37 AM

Post #2177537

Yayyy!!! How exciting, scutler!!

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 10, 2006
1:41 AM

Post #2177550

Before she actually built this nest, I saw them in that rose thicket a number of times, but didn't think much of it at the time. Lately, I have seen both of them in the other rose thicket at the corner of the house quite a bit. It may be too much to hope for, but maybe, just maybe that may be the location of the nest nest. Which will be both good and bad, as I desperately need to do some serious pruning there!

billyporter

billyporter
Nichols, IA
(Zone 5a)

April 10, 2006
1:42 AM

Post #2177552

You really have had good timing.How many eggs did she lay? I can't wait to see photos of the babies, if possible. You have given us all a learning experience. I wouldn't have ever seen this on my own! You've done a good job!

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 10, 2006
1:43 AM

Post #2177554

Hi, Marylyn. Yes, isn't it incredible! We have BABIES at last!!!

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 10, 2006
1:49 AM

Post #2177573

Oh, thank you so much, billy. I just wish that I had been able to get a picture of the newborn - but I was glad that she returned so quickly. It would not have been a good time to leave the little fella alone for long. As I empathized with the experience, I stayed my distance the rest of the day.

There were 3 eggs. When I looked only 1 little guy had emerged, but I suspect that the others arrived soon after.

I will do my very best to get pictures any time that I catch them unguarded. I don't want to stress the parents by running them off, but will try to get a series of pics whenever they are away. I'll try to capture as much of the progression as I can.

We have 11 days.
angele

April 10, 2006
2:13 AM

Post #2177628

Your heart must be overflowing with joy, thank you so much for sharing this experience with us. You are writing about it so beautifully. :)

9kittymom

9kittymom
Bartlesville, OK
(Zone 6a)

April 10, 2006
2:25 AM

Post #2177655

Hooray, babies!!!!!
I am going to share a picture of a baby sparrow that I saved after the neighbor threw it out of it's nest into the street. It was so tiny, no one thought I would be able to save it.

I did though, his/her name was Tootles. I will give you a couple of pictures. Hate to hijack your thread but they are so ugly-cute when they are first born. LOL

Susan
=^..^=

Thumbnail by 9kittymom
Click the image for an enlarged view.

9kittymom

9kittymom
Bartlesville, OK
(Zone 6a)

April 10, 2006
2:27 AM

Post #2177664

Here he is at a week old, very hungry. LOL

Thumbnail by 9kittymom
Click the image for an enlarged view.

9kittymom

9kittymom
Bartlesville, OK
(Zone 6a)

April 10, 2006
2:36 AM

Post #2177681

I probably shouldn't have said a week old. It was a week after I found him, he was probably older than that. LOL

So last one, he actually became a little bird. Loved him a lot. I couldn't keep him though cause he wasn't ready to go free and I had to go to Indiana. So I took him to a rescue place that had a bunch of other birds and animals and she told me he would be set free in her area with all the other little sparrows. I am sure he is happy now. I still miss him.

Susan
=^..^=

Now back to the cardinal babies story...

Thumbnail by 9kittymom
Click the image for an enlarged view.

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 10, 2006
2:41 AM

Post #2177685

Thank you, angele. I am truly enjoying this incredible experience. I hope that you know that each of you is an integral part of the experience as well. The joyful experience needs to be shared! : )

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 10, 2006
2:47 AM

Post #2177738

Oh, Susan, what a WONDERFUL story! Please do feel free to tell us about it and show the pictures. "Ugly-cute" is such a fitting description of the little guys! I am so glad to hear that you were there and were able to save him. He's adorable. I know that you must miss him, but I'm glad that he was able to go free and live a full life, and you will always have these memories of him.

And, Susan, how perfect that you were able to provide the pictures.
Magpye
NW Qtr, AR
(Zone 6a)

April 10, 2006
3:05 AM

Post #2177823

(Magpye busily [virtually], traipsing about .. to & fro .. and SMILIN' real BIG)
" Here, have a cigar .. A mutual friend of ours, is a new 'birdie' grandmaw!! " ..

Super Congrats, MawMaw Scutler !!

I'll be staying tuned it .. And, I can't wait to see any pitters you manage to pull off!
Jes be careful .. (with them babies and with those thorns!)

- Magpye

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 10, 2006
3:14 AM

Post #2177846

Hi there, Magpye, thanks for bringing the cigars!

MawMaw Scutler! How cute. MawMaw is having such a difficult time staying out of things, but isn't that just normal; it's practically my job to be nosey! How else could I keep a prying I on the grands?

Thanks for stopping by on this wonderful occaision.

9kittymom

9kittymom
Bartlesville, OK
(Zone 6a)

April 10, 2006
4:25 AM

Post #2177949

LOL, yes I do have pictures...I have a folder with 122 pictures taken almost everyday he was with us.

He looked like a roasted chicken when he first started getting his feathers. A BURNT roasted chicken, LOL. And when he would get his little crop all filled up with food, he looked like he had a goiter. ugly-cute again...LOL

It will be so much better for your babies. They will have their mama and daddy to care for them in the right way. I am so excited to watch as they grow and learn to fly. I will be watching, don't you worry about that.

Susan
=^..^=
GoldenDomer
Northern, IN

April 10, 2006
8:24 PM

Post #2179296

As I make this post I see there are 118 replies. The views are well over 1,000 Im sure because I am just one of many who enjoyed viewing your wonderful thread without replying.

The nearest thing I have to a cigar is this pic of what one of your boy babies might look like someday.

Congrats.

Thumbnail by GoldenDomer
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DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 11, 2006
2:46 AM

Post #2180459

Susan, your stories about Tootles (and you descriptions of his appearance during the early stages of development) are priceless! How did you know what to do, how to care for him? I wouldn't begin to know how to feed a baby bird. Tootles is so lucky that you were there for him.

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 11, 2006
2:56 AM

Post #2180489

dwdruley, thanks. Thanks for letting me know the stats. Thanks for being one of the viewers, and thanks for letting us know that you are there. That's a very nice picture of the cardinal. I hope that some of our "babies" will grow up to be so handsome!

Now about those stats, are those actual figures or estimated figures? If actual, is there a place on DG's where we can find that kind of info? I see "views" on one of my screens, but the value for everything is "0".

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 11, 2006
3:24 AM

Post #2180565

I have learned a lot from the creatures that inhabit and visit my garden, and the cardinals are certainly no exception. I have been very impressed by the mother cardinal's tireless patience and courage during this process. With the exception of only 1 or 2 small breaks each day, she has sat on that nest 24 hrs/day, every day for the past 13 or so days. She has sat there alone and in silence, rarely even moving and with no TV, no radio, no DVDs or CDs, no computer or game player, not even so much as a camera phone to entertain her. She has sat there without a book, or a magazine, without knitting or sewing. Heck, despite the fact that she is supposed to build another nest ASAP, she didn't even bring along some pine straw so that she might start on that project while waiting.

Through all of this she has never looked cross or frustrated - except when she thought her babies threatened. During her brief daily rendezvous with Mr Cardinal, I have never heard any sqwauking or fussing - not so much as one "I have to sit with the kids all day". She has acted with grace and style and always with a singular focus, the welfare of her new family.

Many times as I've wondered about my garden I've thought of her there. Some days I've been out there virtually dawn to dusk and have rarely seen her leave that spot. I've wondered if she is hungry or thirsty or just plain tired of sitting there. I've marveled at the courage she shows sitting there in a spot where she is more vulnerable than she would be were she in flight and with only herself to consider, the courage she has displayed by remaining steadfast in that spot as I and my dog have milled about her daily.

I know for sure that I would find it difficult to sit there for 1 hour. I am impressed with her diligence and her dedication. I am also impressed with her knowledge. How does she know what to do? We need an OB/GYN, a pediatrician, a midwife, a doctor, a baby nurse, our mom, Aunt Betty, and countless other authorities. It's incredible. How does she know how long she can be away from the eggs or what to feed the new babies? And how the heck did she know how to build that nest? That thing is a marvel of engineering. I kid you not. Again, I am impressed.

This message was edited Apr 11, 2006 8:01 AM

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 11, 2006
3:46 AM

Post #2180610

Well, for day 1 (in the lives of the newly born chicks), while I have seen the new father in the yard and garden almost every time that I have gone out there, still the female is the only one that I have seen on or at the nest. Around noon, I saw her return to the nest with a fat grub. She comes and goes more now, no doubt in search of food for them. I imagine that the father is probably bringing food to her but apparently away from the nest. He has become a familiar, bright spot that decorates the trees about my home, always near by. The mother is never far away either. Even when the chicks appear to be alone, they are being watched. The moment I step over to look at them, I am scolded from afar.

Today I took advantage of a moment when the nest looked deserted. Camera in hand I tried to get a picture. What I found is that the nest has "grown" deeper. (I have read that the mother sits in it and pushes with her feet to do this) Whereas before I could easily photograph the eggs, now from the same spot, I got this:

This message was edited Apr 11, 2006 8:03 AM

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DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 11, 2006
3:49 AM

Post #2180617

After several more frustrated attempts in which I got roughly the same photo as above and wondering why I could not do this thing that I had done several times before, I tried from a different side and got this. Hmm. She is good! Maybe those chicks are harder to get to than I thought.

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DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 11, 2006
3:56 AM

Post #2180627

After, I kid you not, some 9 failed shots, I finally got this. Beware it is not for the squeamish! This was taken around noon Monday - about 21 hours after the first was born. Yesterday, I didn't see any fuzz, so they are growing fast. I can't really make out everything - couldn't do so with me eyes either. Looks like a beak on the far left and a neck oriented diagonally across the picture. I can make out 2 chicks - think the 3rd is underneath. Hope she can sort this out.

Susan, I think they look a lot like Tootles. What do you think?

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9kittymom

9kittymom
Bartlesville, OK
(Zone 6a)

April 11, 2006
4:03 AM

Post #2180644

Yes, they are extremely lovely. LOL I don't see how anything so delicate looking can turn into such a magnificent bird.

You wondered how I knew what to do with him. Well my daughter sent me a link to a baby bird site that tells you what to do. I had a lovely time chopping up meal worms to feed to him. yum yum

http://www.csubak.edu/fact/baby_bird_care.htm#GROSBEAK, FINCH, SPARROW, GOLDFINCH, TOWHEE, JUNCO, LARK, SKYLARK, HORNED LARK

Susan
=^..^=

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 11, 2006
4:03 AM

Post #2180646

Here is the father "hiding" in the edge of the forest behind my garden.

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9kittymom

9kittymom
Bartlesville, OK
(Zone 6a)

April 11, 2006
4:04 AM

Post #2180648

btw a cardinal is a grosbeak.

Susan
=^..^=

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 11, 2006
4:09 AM

Post #2180657

Susan, that was very smart of your daughter (and good to know if we ever find ourselves in that position).

That reminds me. In case the parents have any problems feeding those little ones, today I put out mealworms both in the device attached to the feeder pole and on the patio table. Most of the ones from the patio were gone when I came home, but don't know who actually took them.

Have to go now, Widget is sitting on the keyboard. I think he is trying to tell me something - like he needs some attention, too.
GoldenDomer
Northern, IN

April 11, 2006
1:03 PM

Post #2181109

"Views" were just a guess of mine based on my experience from the days that the feature was active. Having had time to think about it, Id now say its probably closer to 1500. DG Dave may someday reactivate this feature but he has much bigger fish to fry right now.

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 11, 2006
1:13 PM

Post #2181127

Thanks. I was just curious about that feature. And thanks for "new" higher "count". ; )
BloomsWithaView
Moab, UT
(Zone 6b)

April 11, 2006
6:03 PM

Post #2181854

Okay, I confess, I'm one of those who checks in whenever I'm on DG.
I love what you are doing and that you are letting us in on the details, I did the same with a hummer's nest a coupla years ago. It's a nest the hummers have returned to for several years, it hangs on my [yep I'm a redneck] year round string of xmas lights.

here's a pic of how crowded it gets in there. and I got the pic by holding the camera over my head and skedadled just as the mom was returning.

edit to add, when I first joined the threads had two counters one for replys and one for views I think that as our numbers increased the thing became exponetially {sp} too large. LOL

This message was edited Apr 11, 2006 12:06 PM

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dax080
Cedar Rapids, IA
(Zone 5a)

April 11, 2006
7:59 PM

Post #2182039

Oh wow! Congratulations - first time I've been able to get through - for some reason the site is VERRRRRY SLOW, and couldn't make anything happen to communicate for the last three days! I'm so pleased to see they've been born - you're the best gramma! Dax

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 11, 2006
10:59 PM

Post #2182380

The proud new mom.

She's really getting semi-tame now. I stood only 3ft from her and took this. She's looking at me, but doesn't have that frightened look - even let me raise the camera and point it at her.

She and the male both came to the feeder with me sitting near by today. I didn't dare to take a picture, didn't want to risk scaring them; I want them to get used to me.

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DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 11, 2006
11:15 PM

Post #2182424

Then I got a brief opportunity to get this (day 3, they are a few hours more than 2 days old).

This view caused me some angst. I am a little worried about the other 2. Maybe they are just younger and therefore, farther behind developmentally. This is the 1st time I've seen an open mouth. I felt bad about hitting the little fellas with a flash - and no food. They sure do have huge eyes - which appear to be closed. They remind me of kemit from sesame street.

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DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 11, 2006
11:19 PM

Post #2182432

Thanks, Blooms, I love hearing from those of you who are watching the thread. I am glad to hear that you are enjoying it. How lucky you were to have (and FIND) a hummer nest! I'm pretty sure I had one, but did not see it. Great photo of the little fellas.

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 11, 2006
11:20 PM

Post #2182438

Thanks very much, dax. Glad you were able to get through.
Magpye
NW Qtr, AR
(Zone 6a)

April 11, 2006
11:34 PM

Post #2182461

Human triplets .. haint born at the very same time, and will have some wee lil differences: for sure in their personalities, etc.!!

Try to think positive, scutler - for {'our': heehee} babies will be jes fine. No doubt that the parents will try to stand guard - but 'MawMaw Scutler' needs to keep her eyes peeled also .. for them dirty ol Blue Jays. I've read somewhere .. that those ol ruthlessly sly blue boogers .. are reknown for taking 'em baby birds.

I can only imagine that 'grandma' would have a hissy fit .. and we'd hafta have one right along with you! .. LOL ..

Okay .. Is it time for naming them black-marbled-eyed babies!??! .. Let's see, there's Scut, Skoot, and Skimp ... And don't you EVEN try to fool us into thinkin' that you haint already two steps - scuse me: three 'baby' steps (heehee) .. ahead of the rest of us, in that line of thinking!! .. tsk, tsk, tsk! .. LOL Sure hope you know by now, that I am merely luvinly teasin' you scutler, and that it's all in sharing this experience with you via your hand-squeezing xcitement and your in-depth update!

((huggerooners))

- Magpye
dax080
Cedar Rapids, IA
(Zone 5a)

April 11, 2006
11:47 PM

Post #2182486

I keep thinking of Moe, Larry, and Curly - Influence from my DH I think - Dax

billyporter

billyporter
Nichols, IA
(Zone 5a)

April 12, 2006
12:16 AM

Post #2182544

Hi Everyone, I take one day off and there's babies and cigars! They are beautiful! I think they look very healthy. I just can't believe they're here.
I also thought of Moe, Larry and Curly because they're my favorites. You also have Chico, Harpo And Groucho. Laugh.
Kittymom, those were nice pictures and story too. Burnt roasted chicken was a good description.
Blooms, I've only seen hummer nests in magazines. That was a neat shot!

9kittymom

9kittymom
Bartlesville, OK
(Zone 6a)

April 12, 2006
12:47 AM

Post #2182614

Oh, oh, oh, look at the babies.

I am so excited about this, you would think I was there. LOL

Thanks billy, I loved my little Tootles.

Blooms, I was amazed at the hummer nest. I found one once on the ground but never saw one in use. Amazing.

Susan
=^..^=

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 12, 2006
1:30 AM

Post #2182736

Hi, Magpye! It's always good to "see" you. You know I'm just frettng and worrying like any new Grandma - not sure if those youngsters know how to take care of the babies...The 1st 2 times I saw them I was really scared. They were just lying there, not moving (you know, like human infants sleeping) and I was so afraid they were dead until I saw one breathing. Whew! Being a Grandma's hard work!

I didn't know that about the blue jays. I like blue jays but rarely see them in my yard. I have so many squirrels I can't keep seed in a feeder unless it's the squirrel proof type, which invariably also ends up being nearly jay-proof, too. But thanks for letting me know about that. I'll keep an eye peeled for them. You know how fast I was on those mockingbirds last week when they started "fighting" over there in the arbor. BTW, just today when Mom Cardinal was at the feeder, some birds flew over to the little tree next to the arbor, and I noticed her turn her head around to watch them. She keeps a tight watch on those little fellas.

You know I didn't even think about names yet! And all those are cute names, too.

Here's one more pic of the mom on the nest. Looks like it would be hard to get to those babies from that side without getting a hole pecked in you!

Thumbnail by DreamOfSpring
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DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 12, 2006
1:34 AM

Post #2182746

Above I mentioned that when the mom was at the feeder, 2 birds flew over to the tree by the arbor and I noticed that she turned to watch them. Here are the birds. I was way over on the far side of the yard so it's a long shot and not too clear. Does anyone recognize these birds? This time of year they all seem to come in pairs.

Thumbnail by DreamOfSpring
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billyporter

billyporter
Nichols, IA
(Zone 5a)

April 12, 2006
1:35 AM

Post #2182752

Blue Jays will flap their wings to feed at the squirrel proof feeder if you set it for lighter birds. The Grackles have discovered mine. Squirrels will also make off with baby birds too. Too many dangers!

billyporter

billyporter
Nichols, IA
(Zone 5a)

April 12, 2006
1:37 AM

Post #2182761

Looks like a white throated sparrow.

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 12, 2006
1:47 AM

Post #2182797

Oh, no, you shouldn't have told me about the squirrels. Now I'll never get any sleep! And last week when I was out there with the dog at 3AM I heard an owl hooting! It's just amazing that any birds manage to grow up!

Thanks for the id. All of those wrens, sparrow, siskins, etc confuse me.

billyporter

billyporter
Nichols, IA
(Zone 5a)

April 12, 2006
1:58 AM

Post #2182932

I thought it looked familiar, but the yellow threw me. I opened up the bird book to the exact page. They also like to nest in thickets and are said to have a plaintive song. I don't think they'll be a problem. They'll have 4 to 5 pale green eggs. Sounds pretty.
Magpye
NW Qtr, AR
(Zone 6a)

April 12, 2006
3:06 AM

Post #2183124

Yep .. Them'd be White-throated Sparrows. (hee)
But, with that 'yeller' spot at the base of each of their beakers (if I'm lookin' good enuff) - I do bleeve that they may be two fellers.

Also, as was stated already: the White-throateds are just one of several species that absolutely LOVE brush pile hiding places. * They also love ducking in & out from (under) propane tanks! They come out, feed a few seconds .. then dart back under there .. and continue to take turns! Such antics are likened to strategic military manuevers .. LOL ..

Yes ma'am, as horrid as it sounds: the wiley tree rats sure do like to snatch them bird babies also. They are tree climbing & jumping vermin - but rodents, jes the same. Oooo, I don't like to think about it either ...

We can hope real hard, that the squirrels will 'think' twice .. before taking on a jungle of thorns tho' ..

- Magpye

Psssst .. Angele: Pass 'em cigar boxes around, will ya? .. Thank I shorted myself one or two!! .. hee

This message was edited Apr 11, 2006 10:21 PM

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 13, 2006
5:22 AM

Post #2186299

Hi Magpye, sounds like those rose brambles are like a bird's suit of armor - sure hope it works! I'm still trying to figure how I can work some more rose thickets into my little garden habitat.


ALL!!!, due to the length of this thread, I've decided to continue in:

The New Cardinal Family - Part 2 In a Series
http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/591481/

HOPE TO SEE YOU ALL THERE!!! We still have lots of milestones to go: 1st time the turn over, 1st time they sit up, when they start crawling, first steps - oh, wait, I mean learning to fly, leaving the nest...
crittergarden
Pittsburgh, PA

April 10, 2012
1:40 PM

Post #9077291

Bump!
It's that time of year again...
Who will get lucky baby birds this year and tell us all about it?

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 10, 2012
3:08 PM

Post #9077402

Hi crittergarden,

I wish I could say that the cardinals have once again graced me with their nest and family, but so far I've not seen any sign of a nest. A few years ago, due to a combination of factors including health problems and issues with rats being attracted by the abundance of bird seed (and snakes being attracted by the birds and rats), I had to put away my bird feeders, at least for the time being. Sorry, I wish I could share another such story with you all (and one that would end more happily this time), but I've no such luck so far this season.
crittergarden
Pittsburgh, PA

April 10, 2012
3:24 PM

Post #9077423

It's ok - you already spread a lot of joy and wonder!

DreamOfSpring

DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC
(Zone 9a)

April 10, 2012
8:02 PM

Post #9077775

Thank you very much, crittergarden!

:-)

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