If you live in the US, you’ve probably seen cardinals (the Northern Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis) in your garden, in parks, or in the woods. They are a common bird at feeders, and their coloring makes them easy to spot. Their beautiful songs also pinpoint where you need to look to see them!
The cardinal was my mother’s favorite bird. I can remember sitting on our back porch watching birds at the feeder. My mom told me that if I sat really quietly, “Mama Cardinal” would come right up to us. And she did. Mom liked to point out her pretty coral “lipstick.” I think I know where I got my love for observing birds!
One thing I had not observed until recently was a cardinal nest. I see lots and lots of nests, like wrens, doves, barn swallows, and the big hawks, but I don’t think I ever saw cardinals nesting before (now, I have seen LOTS of juvenile cardinals hanging out with their parents, just not the nests).
So, imagine how happy I was yesterday when I was sitting on the porch at our office in Cameron and saw a “Mama Cardinal” fly to a little tree next to our warehouse. She has a nest! I watched both parents for a while, then went to look at the nest more closely. It’s impressive! There is string and some kind of clothing label in it, but mostly it’s made of sticks and looks almost woven. It’s deep and cup-shaped, not shallow and wide like many other nests I see.
Unfortunately, while it’s easy to see with the eye, it doesn’t photograph very well. And I’m not going to climb up a ladder and bug the birds. I look forward to watching the fledglings flying around in a few weeks.