Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Overnight changes

What a difference 24 hours makes, but when you have a mere 21 days from hatch to flight you have to grow very, very fast. This morning the little cardinals are looking more like birds and less like Marvin the Martian. Nearly gone is the spike "hairdo" as the waxy shafts covering the feathers split, allowing them to open.

Father Cardinal expressed great impatience with me this morning. First he flew to the top of the chicken coop and gave me the "evil" eye, so out of respect I took just one shot of his children. As I walked away he flew to the mulberry tree, where he kept watch on me, raising his crest and warning me away with his sharp cry of "chip-chip-chip"!

He should be nicer to me, I think. Nuisance that I am, there's a chance I may end up saving his brood.

The Weather Channel is showing an ominous storm system coming our way, packing winds and toreential rains. So far the nest has held up. I'm hoping for the best, but getting my emergency Baby Bird Rescue Kit ready - just in case.

I've had some experience raising baby birds; I can't count the numbers I've taken in over the years. I primarily have worked with hawks and owls for the last decade, but like most wildlife rehabilitators started with the little guys. Now and again I'll still take songbirds in.

If the nest gets blown down tonight and the babies survive, I'll fashion another nest from a basket, secure it to the crook of the tree and hope that the parents will continue to feed their young. If they don't, I'll finish raising them myself.

But we won't think about that now, will we? For now we'll just prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.


Lord Omar said...

I used to love seeing the Cardinals while we were in Connecticut. They are very rare here in Nova Scotia, but I wont go so far as to say they are not native because I don't know for sure.

Morgan said...

I think you've got enough to watch, what with those Teradactyl Gulls.

Andy Looney said...

The idiots were out there this morning twittering their bird-brained heads off at an hour when a dear old fellow of 86 could use a wee bit more sleep.

Rachel Carson was right...Kill 'em all!!!

Roland said...

Good luck with the little ones.
Hope you don't have to be a 'mommy' to them and the nest stays.

Andy, chill out.
If you don't like birds, get ear plugs. ;)

Andy Looney said...

Of course I like birds, Roland.

My favourite is Foghorn Leghorn.

And as HE always says:

"It's a joke, son."

Morgan said...

Roland, andy looney is just a curmudgeon. He probably hates the sound of puppies and children, too. But God help me, I find the man strangely attractive. ;-)

The storm missed us completely and when I went outside this morning I heard the distinct sounds of mama, papa and baby cardinals in the tangle of trees that line our ditch bank.

They must have left this morning. I took a picture of the nest and then climbed up the ditchbank. I caught sight of two of the four babies as mom and dad coaxed them into along the tree line towards the deep woods.

I had one of the babies in my camera site, but it flew off before I could get it in focus. It probably would have been a lousy picture, anyway.

I kept hoping I'd find one on a low branch, but no such luck.

The wrens in the shed have hatched. I got pictures of them. A runner-up prize.

Blogger is acting wonky and won't allow me to upload photos this morning, so you'll all have to wait for the pictoral update.

But thanks for asking. I'm glad you don't think I'm a birdbrain for being so obsessed with these cardinals.

Andy Looney said...


What do you mean "just" a curmudgeon?

All we men born Oct.18, 1919 are "strangely" attractive.

Some of us just lasted longer than others.