Thoughtful Thursday for my friend Sheldon Neal-A favorite bird of his & mine

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance

picYesterday I did a post about pelicans for my friend Gary Woltal.  I told Sheldon Neal, another friend of mine if he had a favorite image I would do my next post on it. I was delighted when he chose my favorite bird as well as his, the cardinal. The cardinal is the bird that started my fascination and love of songbirds. In the backyard of my home in NY I had many feeders and many different kind of birds but by far my fav was the cardinal.

picThe male cardinal is a beautiful bird, much more brilliant in color than the female but the reason that the female birds are less colorful than the males is so they blend in better and they will not be spotted as easily by predators. I used to have a hawk that used to hang out in the woods in the back lot behind my house and sit there and watch.

The only ones he ever got to my knowledge were mourning doves. I wouldn't have been very happy if he got one of my cardinals. One year I had 8 families of them. I used to watch them eat, bathe and feed their young. It was rather interesting to watch them in the springtime versus the other times.

picDuring the mating season. The male will feed the female seeds and whenever she flys, he will follow her. He also will help feed the babies as well as the female. The funny part is during the rest of the year he wasn't very nice to the female. The male cardinal doesn't start out with his brilliant red feathers. He starts out looking a lot like the female.

They are among North America's most popular songbirds and are monogamous birds. Male cardinals are known by their brilliant red feathers and majestic crested heads. Female cardinals, while also beautiful, sport a more subtle dull reddish color but they have a really pretty orange beak that the male doesn't have.

They are very eager to dine at most any available bird feeder. They will visit your feeder starting early in the morning. They are most normally the first birds at the feeder in the morning and the last ones at night. Since cardinals dine early in the morning and late in the evening, they have plenty of time for entertaining you by singing all day long while the other birds are taking their turns at your bird feeder.

pic

 

I have watched them so much I can tell you if there is a cardinal at the feeder or in the area just by their song. I can hear them and know it is him even before I see him. He has several different songs. One sounds like he is saying "danger". Cardinals absolutely love to sing. The female cardinals will start singing in a warm, sweet voice. The males then follow up by belting out the same sweet melody. If the females change to a different tune, their mates will also change to the new melody. Male and female cardinals often serenade each other, alternately singing the same tune one after the other.

picThey prefer bird feeders that are about 5-6 feet above the ground. They prefer a steady stationary feeder over a hanging bird feeder. Sunflower seeds are a favorite food. They will usually sift through the entire mixture of seeds to get to every sunflower seed before starting in on the other seeds. They also enjoy white proso millet and safflower seeds when they can't get sunflower seeds. They have 2-4 sets of eggs or broods per year. Each brood consists of 3-4 light green or blue eggs with specks of purple or brown. Babies stay in the nest only for about 10 days. Both parents feed the babies but sometimes the male will do it singlehandly while the female incubates another brood. 

picFresh water is a bird magnet! Bathing & drinking is essential to birds & they will flock to a well-maintained water source. Nature's bird bath is a puddle, so the best baths imitate puddles. The bath should be round with a flat bottom & gently sloping sides, & should be no deeper than three inches.

The bottom surface of the bath should not be so smooth that the birds cannot get a secure footing. If necessary, add gravel to the bottom of the bath to make better footing. Flat rocks can be added to the water to provide a shallow area of footing. Consider a heated bird bath or a bird bath heater for the winter season to keep the water at 55° Fahrenheit. It is so much fun to watch the birds not only drink the water but also to take a bath. If you have never witnessed it then you are missing a real treat.

 

pic

pic

My fascination was so great I went to great lengths to make them happy, even going out in a blizzard and wading thru knee high snow to clean the snow off the feeders so they could get to the food.

When it was snowing so hard and so cold I felt really sorry for  them and wished I could have brought them in doors.

I also collect bird figurines and of course the cardinal is a prized piece(pic R).

pic

 picI also have a bird clock and a cardinal figurine(pic above L) with its wings spread with pics of cardinals inside that. Last but not least there is the bird puzzles. The cardinal puzzle(pic R) was my first puzzle I did and have done a lot of them since then. My walls are covered with different bird puzzles. I had a friend tell me I was obsessed. Can't imagine why she said that I only have about 40 of them. LOL

Hey we all need a hobby and why not something that brings me so much pleasure. Since I have been in Va I had only done 1 puzzle, well recently I changed that and spent some time with one of my fav hobbies. I hope you have enjoyed this post everybody. I hope you learned something you didn't know about cardinals and also found out that I am a little bird crazy. Well Sheldon and everyone I hope you like this cardinal post as much as I enjoyed doing it. I miss not having a place where I can feed them and watch them. I even had my own nickname for all the birds and the cardinals are dubbed RED and Mrs Red.

Here is a video of them feeding their babies.

Posted by

Sharon Lee

Comments (21)

Jen Anderson
Exit By the Bay Realty - Chesapeake Beach, MD
Sharon, I love to see the cardinals in the springtime! grreat pictures.
Sep 17, 2009 03:36 PM
Sheldon Neal
Bergen County, NJ - RE/MAX Real Estate Limited - Maywood, NJ
That British Agent Bergen County NJ
You are just too sweet ! I love these little guys, and have found that they have appeared over the years wherever I have laid my hat :o) Beautiful, and a wonderful narrative you added :o) Thank you my friend ! ... you made my day ! Cheers ! Sheldon
Sep 17, 2009 04:13 PM
c m
Colorado Springs, CO

Did not know many of those facts about Cardinals!  I do enjoy them, and now maybe even a little more...

Sep 17, 2009 04:39 PM
Marcia Hawken
WILLIAM RAVEIS - Naples, FL
Naples Luxury Specialist

Beautiful pictures, Sharon.  We have lots of cardinals in Naples and now I will look more closely at them.  Love to hear their song.  Pretty, pretty, pretty.  That's what they are!  Thanks.

Sep 17, 2009 11:54 PM
Toula Rosebrock
Diane Turton, Realtors, Forked River, NJ - Lacey Township, NJ
Broker/Sales Associate, Realtor, Lacey Township,

ToulaRosebrock,com

Hi Sharon:

My favorite is the Cardinal also...

Both the male and the female of this type are so beautiful, yet so different!

Sep 18, 2009 01:07 AM
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX
Broker,CLHMS,GRI

Wonderful post and I love the photographs! We have several bird feeders out back and a good group of cardinals that visit on a daily basis!

Sep 18, 2009 01:34 AM
Tom Braatz Waukesha County Real Estate 262-377-1459
Coldwell Banker - Oconomowoc, WI
Waukesha County Realtor Real Estate agent. SOLD!

Sharon

Cardinals are beautiful birds, I think the crown they have is so distinctive.

Sep 18, 2009 01:56 AM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Sharon, These birds are magical they're so pretty!  We don't see them very often here but I also, years ago, put up a bird feeder and love to watch all the birds congregate!  Thanks for sharing so much information about cardinals that I hadn't known.

Sep 18, 2009 02:03 AM
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Sharon, great tribute to your friend(s) here on AR...I love cardinals, and all birds really, and all animals, and all.....SMILE

Sep 18, 2009 02:37 AM
C. Bartch
Newark, OH

Hi Sharon what great well written post my friend, love the photos too! I have those beauties here too and I love watching them.

Sep 18, 2009 02:42 AM
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Sharon, glad to see that you wrote this post, as I too love Cardinals.  Loved the video.

Sep 18, 2009 09:50 AM
Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

Hi Mary-I am open to suggestions from all my friends if they would like to know more about their fav bird or other image. I just love your new pic. <SMILE>

Hi Jen-So do I. Have a great evening. <SMILE>

Hi Sheldon-I have been fortunate to see them here in Va as well as NY. Glad you liked the post. Thank you for the compliment. <SMILE>

Hi Cheryl-They are a beauty of a bird and I just love everything about them. Have a super weekend. <SMILE>

Hi Marcia-I totally agree. Thanks for the visit. <SMILE>

Hi Toula-They are indeed and the female has her own beauty.  <SMILE>

Russell-Thank you so much. It was a labor of love to do this as I love everything about them. Thank you for your friendship. <SMILE>

Hi Tom-It is very distinctive-I am most picky about any pics or other collectibles that depict both male and female. It has to look authentic. <SMILE>

Hi Carole-They are a passion of mine. Generally if you have feeders if they are around the area you will find them.<SMILE>

Hi Kristin-My friend with the big heart. I know you do. If you have a fav image just let me know. <SMILE>

Hi Cynthia-I thought that video was so cool. I had never seen them so close up. Thank you for the compliment. Have a super weekend. <SMILE>

Hi Rebecca-I had a lot of fun doing it and enjoyed the video immensely myself. <SMILE>

 

Sep 18, 2009 12:11 PM
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Sharon you have outdone yourself with this Cardinal expose. The people in St, Louis will adore you (baseball fans). That is a terrific video and the plethora of photos you find always leaves me with my jaw dropped. BTW, as a little kid (I still am in my mind) I painted a cardinal with water colors. It too is another fave bird of mine. Kind of rare in our area but we see them now and then.

Sep 18, 2009 12:46 PM
Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

Hi Gary-Thank you. I had a lot of fun doing it. When you love what you are talking about it makes it easy. Glad to know it is one of your favorites as well. Have a great weekend. <SMILE>

Sep 18, 2009 12:54 PM
Andrea Swiedler
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

Sharon, I love those Cardinals too. I didn't do my bird feeder last year, cut backs you know, LOL. But they were still all around! Great job, I didn't know all these things about them. Thank you!

Sep 18, 2009 01:03 PM
Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

Hi Andrea-It is nice to see you. I hope your pup is doing better. Cardinals are my absolute fav bird so it was great fun talking about them. <SMILE>

Sep 18, 2009 01:26 PM
JL Boney, III
Coldwell Banker - Columbia, SC
Columbia, SC Real Estate

I rarely have them around our home, but they are all over the place at my Mother's house. We keep food out, but that's easy to do here, we never have anything close to a blizzard.

Sep 20, 2009 02:21 AM
Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

Hi JL-Thankfully we don't here in VA either. That is why we moved out of the north country to escape that nasty weather. Hope you are doing well my friend. Have a great week. <SMILE>

Sep 20, 2009 02:59 AM
Joe Colón, Jr.
Jenny L Colón, PC - Chesapeake, VA
These are amazing pictures Sharon, I can't wait for the spring when we can view these gorgeous sights once again! Thank you for sharing.
Jan 16, 2010 08:00 AM
Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

Hi Joe-Thank you so much. I love springtime when the birds are out in full force. Thank you for the visit, That is a real interesting profile pic. <SMILE>

Jan 16, 2010 08:10 AM