Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cardinals, as in birds, and things ...

The resident cardinal family appears to have two young ’uns right now, instead of the usual one at at a time of past seasons.

I no longer provide bird seed in the yard because having little baby mice doing acrobatics under the bird feeder was just way too much. If they had had the sense to stay mostly out of sight, well maybe ... but really to flaunt and caper in front of anyone who walked by was more that I could take. Though the mouse population did entice an owl family and once I was even visited by a baby or at least juvenile horned owl (which is NOT a small bird, by the way) who stayed in my yard near the bird waterer for several hours.

Anyway, I was writing about the cardinal family. Instead of feeding the birds generally I put out a few walnuts in the morning for the cardinals (and since they are real busy right now feeding the youngsters I sometimes also put a few more out in the late afternoon, specially if papa cardinal comes up and looks in the window). The nice thing about cardinals is that they know where those walnuts are coming from, or at least they know who provides them. Doves, now, doves know nothing, nothing. Like rabbits they have to reproduce lots and lots of themselves in order to survive. I won't get into where humans fit in this continuum between doves and cardinals.

What I was thinking about when I started this post was that one of the young cardinals is very fixated on playing with little flowers --when it's parent isn't close by at which point it goes into baby bird mode shaking its feathers and saying feed me, feed me, now, now. So I was wondering, is this baby's behavior playing with flowers, behavior I've observed frequently over the past two or three days (and, no matter how it may appear, I am not always sitting here in front of the window) ... is this behavior, interest in, or fixation on something other than food happening because they have, in addition to their usual diet, a few extra and easy to obtain walnuts to provide a little bird leisure for the contemplation of their environment? ... or is it genetically defined pre-nesting behavior?

Ain't life interesting.

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