The other morning, while I was busy spraying our yard with Mosquito-B-Gon, I was approached several times by a female Cardinal around my Burning Bush. I assumed she had a baby in a nest in the bush, and I reassured her that I wouldn’t harm her baby or get to close. As we were chatting (me, talking reasonably – her, twitting and cheeping and divebombing my head), Daddy joined in.
Daddy Cardinal teamed up with Mama and they both started in on me. Yes, me, Miss Doolittle-wouldn’t-harm-a-potato-bug, was getting the what-for by a pair of birdie parents. Now, I know this Daddy. He was just a teenager last year, and I could tell because he keeps his hair slicked back on his head. He’s still young and hip, because his Daddy, Grandpa Cardinal, visits our yard frequently and he’s a proud manbird. He keeps his hair fresh and in a high soft fuzzy peak. So, I cut the young one some slack, you know, first time parenting and all that. We all tend to get a little overprotective, eh?
Down he came, just feet away from me, giving me that side-hop-step, making sure I knew who was boss-a-da-bush.
Okay, Daddy. I decided to stop getting them all riled up in an unnecessary tizzy and went in the house for my morning latte. Hubby stepped outside then to see how effective The Spray was on the swarms of gnats and mosquitoes – and all I can say is – VERY. (I’ve been using this stuff for years, and it doesn’t harm the birds or drive them off – there are still PLENTY of healthy non-dead bugs and piles of warm places to lay larvae in my neighbors yards.) If you would like to enjoy your backyard, I highly recommend picking up a few bottles for the summer months. It’s wonderful.
Anyhoo, Hubby stepped outside and a few moments later he was being given the talking-to, as well. Then I heard “Honey. Bring your camera.” As always, he gets to see all the action. I grabbed my trusty Panny and get her ready to roll – and step out the back door. Hubby says “look at your car”. And so I did.
Huh. Well look at that. (The bird, not my dirty ride.) Was he there before, while I was getting the cheep-cheep talk? I don’t know. What I did know is that this baby is a newbie to the Birds in Flight School, and I totally wanted to watch flying lessons. I went back in and grabbed my latte and had a seat in my new time-out chair.
(Isn’t it lovely? I hope I get a lot of time-out’s this summer.)
I watched as baby cheeped and mama chipped back. Baby hopped around my car as though he was saying “but I can’t, mama, it’s too high!” and Mama reassured him from her cozy position on my fence.
Baby took flight and flew smack into the side of our grill, which was covered, so it was a soft blow. He slid to the ground safely and hopped around a bit. Mama swooped down to see if he was okay, and he cheeped at her. Their conversation continued as I watched, fully entertained at the translation of cheeps and chips to words as they tumbled through my mind, and I considered myself lucky to be able to watch such an awesome display of Cardinal family togetherness.
As Mama continued her verbal training, Daddy was off somewhere. He must have felt okay about my position and distance, since neither of them were yelling at me to get out of the way. Just then, Baby took flight again, back into our garage – this time landing on Hubby’s car. Or, at least, he tried to. The smoothness of the roof caused instant slippage and Baby went *boom* on the floor of the garage. He screamed a little, and Mama went into a panic, but soon he cheeped a happy cheep and started hopping around underneath the car.
Then, I wanted to cry. Here was baby, sitting under the car cheeping and being chipped at by Mama, when Daddy lands outside the garage and hops over to his Pride and Joy.
And feeds him a little breakfast.
OMG. ::sniffles:: The. sweetest. thing. ever.
Daddy quickly moved out of the way and Mama resumed her instruction, and within a minute or so baby took flight again and found a cozy spot in the “S” curve of my studio gutter.
It was a little too close for comfort so I slipped into the back door and let them continue their training. You can see Mama on the roof of the garage standing by for her little one’s venture out into the world. Daddy tried to land on the gutter next to Baby to feed him again, but couldn’t get his footing so he hung back and waited for them to get to a new spot.
I’d say of all the time I’ve spent in and around my yard, that had to be one of the top 10 precious moments. Seeing their behavior as a family unit was nothing short of amazing – and it makes me glad to call myself a birdwatcher. It’s most definitely an enjoyable hobby!