So when I got home from work today, I decided I would check on the Cardinal’s nest I wrote about in my last post. As I walked up to the nest, I inadvertently flushed out a female cardinal who exploded out of the tangle of vines. In her absence, I tried to get a look at the nest. Could it be?
I think so …
Yes, definitely! At least two cardinal eggs, sky blue with speckles.
I’m excited! Are you excited? Of course you are!
Here are a few interesting facts about cardinal nests and eggs that I gleaned off of allaboutbirds.org and other sites. First off, it is common for Cardinals to leave the nest for up to six days after it is completed, which explains the “abandonment” I wrote about.
According to allaboutbirds.org: “A week or two before the female starts building, she starts to visit possible nest sites with the male following along.” This sounds a lot like what happens when our family moves into a new house. I wonder if they use a realtor.
The female chews on twigs to make them pliable, then bends them around herself to make a cup-shaped nest. The nest has four layers: coarse twigs, a leafy mat, grape-vine bark, and finally grasses and other fine materials. The eggs incubate for one to two weeks, with the female egg-sitting and the male bringing her food.
As for the chipmunk, after discovering the eggs I immediately found my container of rodent repellent and sprayed it liberally on the ground and on the lower parts of the vines. The whole area smells like bear piss right now, but I’m sure that will fade. I also have to hope that the mama cardinal will repel Alvin the Terrible if he is not deterred by the smell. I think I’ll look into chipmunk traps.
In any case, congratulate me! If all goes well, we’re going to have baby birds!
Have you discovered any nests or baby critters in your garden?