One day this week, I looked out of my kitchen window and thought I saw a black-headed cardinal in the backyard but then decided that I was probably imagining it. But yesterday, with camera in hand, I was able to get a photo of the bird. I have found two main theories about the baldness. It seems that after nesting season, cardinals molt and a number lose all their head feathers, revealing their skin beneath. The other theory is that the condition could be caused by mites. In both cases, the feathers will grow back in time. I found it interesting that the circle seen below and slightly behind the eye is actually an ear hole.
“I love bald men. Just because you’ve lost your fuzz don’t mean you ain’t a peach.” ~Dolly Parton
For the past several years, a pair of cardinals have built a nest in a bush outside our screened porch. In the past, I have been able to look through the screen and have a good view of the contents of the nest. However, this year the cardinals scored a rather large piece of plastic, which they used to line the nest. It was so big that it came up several inches behind the nest and made it impossible to see inside. My view was blocked. I had resigned myself to the fact that I probably wouldn’t get to see the babies this year, so I was rather surprised the other day when I went out to change the hummingbird feeders which are located close to the nest, and spied a fledgling sitting out on a branch of the bush.
“The only way to live is to accept each minute as an unrepeatable miracle, which is exactly what it is: a miracle and unrepeatable.” ~ Storm Jameson
When I go out to feed the birds in the morning, I am often stopped in my tracks by the sound of chirps and fluttering wings as cardinals seem to appear out of nowhere and descend on the bushes surrounding our yard. They know when feeding time is, and ready themselves to claim their share of the bounty. I’ve come to look forward to their beautiful flashes of red and all the activity that surrounds feeding time!
“Stop. Look. Listen. You are surrounded by countless little blessings but you’ll miss them is you don’t pay attention.” ~Ruth McPherson
This past week, West Tennessee has experienced sleet, snow and extremely cold temperatures, which have rendered many homebound. One of the things I have enjoyed during this time has been watching a flock of cardinals that have been visiting the feeders. Their activity and beauty have been a bright spot in some bitterly cold and icy days.
“Even dark days have a bright spot. Make it your goal to find it.” ~Lisa Petty
The Northern Cardinals have been plentiful in our backyard this winter. I spotted these two cuties in our bushes one afternoon. The female, though not as flashy as the bright red male, has lovely brown-gold plumage with warm red accents and a distinctive crest.
“On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters of principle, stand like a rock.” ~Thomas Jefferson