Help With Expecting Mom

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

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.

Thumbnail by DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

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.

Thumbnail by DreamOfSpring
Tiller, OR(Zone 8a)

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.

Nichols, IA(Zone 5a)

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!

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

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.

Nichols, IA(Zone 5a)

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?

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

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.

Nichols, IA(Zone 5a)

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.

NW Qtr, AR(Zone 6a)

.. 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)


- Magpye

(Zone 10b)

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.

Lutz, FL(Zone 9b)

What a great view you have of the nest. What fun to watch the babies! You're very lucky

Moab, UT(Zone 6b)

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

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

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.

Thumbnail by DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

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.

Thumbnail by DreamOfSpring
NW Qtr, AR(Zone 6a)

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 ..


- Magpye

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

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.

Bartlesville, OK(Zone 6a)

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.


Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

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...

Nichols, IA(Zone 5a)

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!

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

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...

Nichols, IA(Zone 5a)

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!

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

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.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

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!!!

NW Qtr, AR(Zone 6a)

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.

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

Nichols, IA(Zone 5a)

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.

Mississauga, ON(Zone 6a)

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


Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

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.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

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.

Thumbnail by DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

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

Thumbnail by DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

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

Thumbnail by DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

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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NW Qtr, AR(Zone 6a)

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

Cedar Rapids, IA(Zone 5a)

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

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

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!

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

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.

Mississauga, ON(Zone 6a)

How long does it take before they'll hatch.

I'll accept an estimate ~:-)


Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Ok, now about that pesky 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 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?

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Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

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.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Here is a link showing the arbor as it looked 2 summer ago. ( ).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.

Nichols, IA(Zone 5a)

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

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