Saturday, July 9, 2011

Thursday early afternoon

Totally glum. No sign of cardinal family. No joy in the world. Time to go to market for some fruit and vegetables. Dragging back with shopping bags when something on branch catches my eye. Oh, WOW !!!! Baby cardinal. RUN. Get upstairs. Drop grocery bags. Grab camera. Gallop downstairs. Gloom to total euphoria.

The baby! Safe fledge. I had never before seen such a young cardinal and since it was perched in deep shadow I decided to do four shots using diffused flash. This did not startle the baby. That had been my concern. After that I reverted to available light with a high ISO.The baby is about the size of two walnuts when snuggled up. Little body. Huge mouth.

When it stretches it appears larger, but it's still a tiny bird. Great "finger nails".

Feathers will fill in.

Both parents bringing food. Robin parents bring a mass of food and it goes down the hatch in a second, sometimes faster than you can see. The cardinal parents, like the hawks, are gentle feeders, a bit at a time, always watching what has gone in and what's gone down. A bit of food is placed in the gullet and parent waits. All fine? More bits go in. Huge patience.

I sat on the bench for four hours and watched this show. Both parents tried to lure child to a branch away from path, but the baby had found its comfort zone. Smart kid. Better safe than sorry. Early flights are often bumbling affairs. Some fledglings leave the nest ready to run the Kentucky Derby. Others get to a spot and stay put. This kid was obviously going to stay put for a while. Eat, stretch, preen, doze, eat, rest, preen, doze, etc.

More images to follow in this beautiful saga. A sweet little survivor.


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