Tuesday, June 19, 2012

They Left the Nest!

Last year one of of our many resident cardinal families nested in the cut-leaf maple outside my bay window.  This maple has the exact coloring needed for camouflage against predators and curious humans and has much of the coloring of an adult female cardinal.   Had the tree not been so close to the front door and my regular passage, I would probably have never discovered that nest.  If you are a regular reader of my blog you will remember the successful and dramatic departure of the two little birds a year ago.  This year they nested again.  The female laid two brown spotted eggs the size of the end of my index finger shown in my quick blurry photo below.
Taken on May 21.
As you may be able to see below, they both hatched.  There are two little naked featherless avians in the photo below snuggled in this tiny nest barely aware of their own existence.  Look at the end of that yellow bill as it curls around the tiny head.


Taken June 6.
Below, a few days later, they are now aware not only of their existence but of mine!   As they cower down low and think they are hiding.  I sure must look like some strange monster and not at all like mom or dad.

Taken June 9

The proud and somewhat concerned papa.
Eventually as they grew, their hunger got the better of them and they opened their big maws for anything that might drop inside.  These guys are a little intimidating, I think.


Taken June 10
Below, in just 24 hours, they ballooned larger and were beginning to push each other out  of the nest.  You can also see how this one's bill is beginning to change from a long yellow border with a curl to a bill that looks more like a cardinal's bill.  This one also was beginning to get his/her feathers.


Taken June 11
Then the very next day along comes a big wet thunderstorm, and as I went out I saw that the nest, while still tucked in the notch of the branches, looked very wet.  The little ones were now resting on top of the tree branches and appeared a little drenched and perhaps insulted that they must endure such discomfort!  "Wha happened?"  Welcome to the real world my little ones.


Taken June 12
When I returned a short time later on the same morning, the first had gone and Papa and Mama were chittering away in a nearby holly tree entreating this little one in the photo below to test his/her wings.  I did not see it fly, but it too was gone a short time later.  I am always a little sad and feeling a little restless when the young ones leave the nest.  It is now more quiet in my front yard.


Taken June 12

18 comments:

Brian Miller said...

ha they have a haircut a little like mine...the one of their open mouthes is really cool...and cute...

Lynilu said...

What a wonderful thing to watch and to document as you have!

Red said...

Excellent account of a bird's journey into life.

Joanne said...

Lovely journey through the early life of a cardinal. I suppose they make as much racket at our baby wrens over food.

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

thank you for all you described.
my early evening smile on this over 90 degree day..

Mystic Meandering said...

This is so delightful! I am taken by the blue in what appears to be wings, or wing feathers coming through?

That one on June 10th with the bushy eyebrows, or is that beak-brows :) looks like Groucho Marx! :) And the front-on view of June 12th is definitely my morning look... :)

chris said...

thanks for sharing this! lucky you to have been privy to such a wondrous happening!

Hilary said...

How beautifully you documented their progress. No doubt they'll stick around and indulge themselves at your feeders through the months. Mama and Papa know a good place when they find it. Well done, Tabor.

Linda Reeder said...

I saw your comment on my blog and came to check you out. I will e back. I love what you do here.
As to gardening in the Seattle area, it is about as ideal a place to garden as one can get. I compares to England and you know what they can do with gardens. I live in the suburbs so I don't have deer problems, but in outlying areas they are a big problem. Rabbits are around, but they don't seem to nibble here. Moles do dig up the lawn, and we do have bugs and plant deseases, sure. But our climate in moderate, tempered by the Pacific Ocean, which is nothing like your Atlantic, and by the salt water of Puget sound, our large inland sea. We have summer drought, usually July through mid-September, so we have to water. the temps seldom reaches into the 90's, and is usually closer to 70 most of the summer. We often wish for more warmth, but then hate it when it gets hot.
We've been gardening here for 34 years now, and wonder how long we can keep it up, but so far it just gets better and better each year.

Uttara said...

they look so delicate n cute!

Dave said...

Nice story and pictures Tabor - Dave

Granny Annie said...

For some reason birds leaving the nest bring tears to my eyes. You have documented this so well. Thank you!

TexWisGirl said...

such sweet babies! congrats on your POTW!!!

ellen abbott said...

oh, I did the same thing, photographed from egg to empty nest. my baby cardinal went from hatchling to fledging in 9 days.

Frank Baron said...

Good stuff, Tabor. I enjoyed it. :)

ladyfi said...

Oh - such exquisite shots! Tender.

Deborah Carr said...

Wow...incredible photos! You must have been so thrilled. We rarely have cardinals here.

mansuetude said...

We get a lot of cardinals here but I have never seen anything like these early pictures. Thank you.