Jun
03

Cardinals Take Flight!

The cardinals took flight yesterday (June 2).  Early in the morning, we noticed that the baby birds were very restless.  They were moving around in the nest a lot more than usual.  One jumped up on the nest edge and started stretching his wings.  This gave the others more room to stretch as well.  Having watched cardinals raise another nest full of baby birds earlier this spring, we knew that this sudden restlessness meant that they would fly today.

The first baby cardinal jumps to the edge of the nest.

The first baby cardinal jumps to the edge of the nest.

As the little ones prepared to leave the nest, the mother kept coming back with big fat bugs to feed the little ones.  This will give them the energy needed to make the flight.  At one point the mother brought a large moth to feed the baby birds.  It was so large that she tried to put it in each mouth only to find that none of the babies could swallow it.  Finally she jumped to a limb, chewed it up and ate it herself (she needs some energy as well!).

The mother bird arrives with some food - a moth.

The mother bird arrives with some food - a moth.

Mother cardinal tries to feed a baby bird before its first flight.

Mother cardinal tries to feed a baby bird before its first flight.

The bug was too big for the first bird.  Let's try this one!

The bug was too big for the first bird. Let's try this one! Notice how the first bird still wants it.

As the mother watched from higher in the tree one jumped out of the nest onto a limb and the mother bird took him step by step through the process of flying to trees that surround the creek at the back of our lot where the male bird waited.  They did this with each bird, one-by-one until they were all safely together again so the parent birds could continue to watch over them and feed them.  The process took about 6 hours.   The photos below show how they did it.

The first baby bird jumps out on a limb.

The first baby bird jumps out on a limb.

Mother bird takes a wary look at me before she flies to get more food.

Mother bird takes a wary look at me before she flies to get more food.

Mother bird jumps down on a plant shelf just below the tree with the nest in it, encouraging the baby to make the leap.

Mother bird jumps down on a plant shelf just below the tree with the nest in it, encouraging the baby to make the leap.

The baby bird follows the lead and jumps to the plant shelf.

The baby bird follows the lead and jumps to the plant shelf.

The mother bird then flies over to some patio furniture and chirps at the baby to follow.

The mother bird then flies over to some patio furniture and chirps at the baby to follow.

The baby follows again.

The baby follows again.

The baby flies under a patio table.

The baby flies under a patio table.

Mother and baby bird have a conference before proceeding.

Mother and baby bird have a conference before proceeding.

Not everything went according to plan.  This is not easy!

Not everything went according to plan. This is not easy!

Mother looks down at baby as she leads it back toward the back yard.

Mother looks down at baby as she leads it back toward the back yard.

Mother feeds baby one last time before they head out toward the trees surrounding the creek.

Mother feeds baby one last time before they head out toward the trees surrounding the creek.

The mother bird gets ready to lead the baby bird across the back yard to the creek.

The mother bird gets ready to lead the baby bird across the back yard to the creek.

 

Jun
01

Cardinal Babies in the Nest

I know there are a lot of photos of Cardinal babies posted on the Internet.  Still it is an amazing site to be able to witness a miracle like this on a day-to-day basis and I wanted to share it with all of you who visit this blog.

The first cardinal egg appeared in the nest on May 11, 2012.Cardinals are present year round and bring beauty and song to us here in the North Central Texas area.  A couple of Cardinals built a nest earlier this spring on our patio in a little potted tree right next to our living room window.  The father and mother both worked diligently to build the nest and feed and protect the baby cardinals.  During that time they successfully raised one batch of 4 birds.  I didn’t take photos at that time but swore if they ever came back I would do so.  Much to our surprise, about a month after the first bunch left, the parent birds started checking the same nest out again.  Before we knew it, eggs started appearing in it again.

I took these photos today (June 1).  There are three babies this time.  They are moving around a lot, preening themselves and keeping mom and dad cardinal very busy feeding them.  What a cool thing to be able to witness such a beautiful thing so easily!  By the way, if you want to find out what a baby cardinal is officially called you might want to check this link Wiki-Answers-Baby-Cardinals  (After you take a look at the photos below of course!  Be sure to click on each to see a larger photo.).

Baby Cardinals see their mother land in the tree.

Baby Cardinals see their mother land in the tree.

As the mother bird gets closer, they stretch their necks and open wider.

As the mother bird gets closer, they stretch their necks and open wider.

The mother bird jumps to a limb right next to the nest.

The mother bird jumps to a limb right next to the nest.

The mother bird takes a closer look at the baby cardinals.

The mother bird takes a closer look at the baby cardinals.

The mother bird has fed the last baby and gets ready to leave to find more food.

The mother bird has fed the last baby and gets ready to leave to find more food.

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