Tuesday, June 3, 2014


I came down in the morning to find several frantic neighbors. Baby cardinal sitting on sidewalk.  Oh no!!!  The baby fledged from nest above path, but didn't flap enough to get into neighboring tree. It obviously fluttered down to sidewalk. Alive, thank goodness, but staying on sidewalk was not an option, so I gave my neighbor my camera and very gently picked up totally calm baby from path and placed it on a tree knot.  The parents saw the baby so that wasn't a concern, but I noticed immediately that there were ants from the tree getting onto the baby, so I gently transferred baby to a horizontal branch on another tree and the baby fell asleep. With nothing else to be done I headed to the park figuring that when I came home there would either be a dead baby or a live baby.
Two hours later.    Baby had flown down from the horizontal branch it had gotten to the base of another tree and was  doing proper baby cardinal stuff. A baby cardinal is so ugly that it's adorable. You can't not love the facial expressions.
Time to be a "mountain" climber.
Parents very alert to baby's safety.
Would you feed a baby who sticks a tongue out at you?
A stretch is a great opportunity to see the anatomy of the baby.
A couple of times the feeding was nest position, from above.
The parents were flying from ground to branch obviously trying to get the baby to fly UP. This went on for at least an hour, down-up, down-up.  The best the baby did was run-hop-fall on face.  It had flown down from nest, down from branch, but has yet to do UP.
I don't know what I'll find later today. Usually when the new fledge is a grounder it gets the up talent the next day. It takes a lot to get yourself into the air, the thrust and when you're out in the big new world less than 24 hours there's a lot to be learned.  I was worried that having carried the baby it might imprint on me, but it obviously knows its parents and they know the baby. I suspect this was a one baby hatch, because both parents never left the baby. There's lots of food in the garden...  insects, things people drop, and the cranberries I deliver.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Poor thing! But this little guy really didn't look like he would have made it. Three weeks ago, when I was up in Massachusetts for my college reunion, a baby sparrow flew into the open doorway of a shop I was in, crashing into my head and landing on the floor. He'd obviously come from a tree just outside the shop. I managed to scoop him up and carry him back outside, and when I opened up my hand, he didn't want to take off right away. But when he heard his mom chirping from above in the tree, he began to chirp back. After another five minutes or so, he took off and flew across the street ... so he was obviously farther along in development than this little cardinal.