Thursday, April 30, 2020


Last week, on one of those mornings when we woke to a dusting of snow, I had a visitor that both delighted and surprised me.

This beautiful male Northern Cardinal had perched on my deck railing.  I’ve written about how the bird numbers were way down over this past winter so this bright red guy gave me hope that a shift might be happening in bird numbers.

The Cardinal looked my way.  I was well behind my desk shooting from a dark room 100 mm away so I doubted the bird could see me.  Yet, knowing that vision is the most important sense for birds, perhaps I was wrong.

It kept its eye in my direction but tilted its head downward.  Since cardinals are often ground feeders, maybe it was checking out what seed had fallen to the ground it might munch on.

The cardinal looked towards the feeder.  C’mon, boy, jump up there and eat some of those sunflower and safflower hearts you love.  I’d even re-attached the cardinal ring to the feeder so it would have a better place to perch.

The bird looked my way again from the other side.  It still didn’t move towards the feeder.  I thought about why the cardinal hadn’t jumped on the feeder, when in the past I’d had many cardinals at this same feeder.  I wondered whether the feeder needed to be raised higher so there would be more room for it to maneuver itself to the perching ring.  So that afternoon, I added an extra length to the system raising it higher.

The cardinal stood, its crest, black mask, and cone-shaped bill all striking.  And then he took off.  I felt lucky to have seen the cardinal, but hopeful too, that more might visit in the future.