01 July 2016

Cardinal Nest

For the past several weeks, we've had a cardinal nest in one of our bushes. It's been quite the challenge keeping Gretel -- the bird dog -- away. Admittedly, I'm not a giant bird fan. But I do feel quite lucky to have gotten to experience this. We spotted the first egg on June 6. The next day there were three. Then only two. Then suddenly, there were six gorgeous eggs. So exciting.

The mom cardinal was there every day. We didn't see the dad very much while she was incubating the eggs. But it turns out, cardinals are very loud, so we knew he was hanging around thanks to loud chirping. In fact, over the course of the weeks, as soon as we heard a loud cardinal noise, we knew Gretel close by the bush and were able to get her away. They were a pretty good alarm.

A couple weeks later (June 20), we found one of the eggs broken on the ground. Sadly, the bird was nearly formed, so I knew it would be soon before they started hatching. Sure enough, the next morning, we had our first bird. Adorable!

The next day (June 22), there were two. Can you even stand this?

On June 23, there were three. You can see the bottom bird is quite a bit larger already. I'm not sure what happened, but the smaller ones disappeared. Was it the mother? I have no idea, but it was pretty heartbreaking.

I like to call this the awkward, ugly phase. Yuck. The crazy thing is, this was only three days later (June 26). They still aren't large, but what a change.

And a couple more days later, it looked like this (June 28). Getting cute again. By the way, these eggs are the size of large marbles. To put the size of all of this in prospective.

This morning, the baby was out of it's nest. Can you see it? From what I've read, they are supposed to hang around the tree for several days yet, but we haven't been able to see it. The parents are still in the area, and I'm hoping it's ok. It's been a long several weeks keeping things safe, but how amazing is this?

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