When we got back from the girls’ dance lesson yesterday we could hear the Northern Cardinals making a lot of noise in the garden before we’d even opened the front door. We rushed through to the back door in time to see a bird of prey (no idea which one) swooping across the garden and the Northern Cardinals going mad, squawking.
I went out and the big bird flew away. My first thought was to check the nest. When I looked there were no chicks there and we all felt so sad. I then saw a little grey, fluffy bundle hopping around behind the pool. Mummy and Daddy Northern Cardinal were flying around it cheeping madly! At least one was ok but what should we do?
The girls and I kept a watch on the chick to stop any other predators heading in to the garden. It was lucky we did as a raccoon which had visited the garden earlier on in the week soon returned for another visit. I only got a picture of his leg and tail as he left the garden!
After the raccoon left and the parent birds quietened down, we heard more little cheeps and it was then that we found the two other chicks. Hurrah – all 3 chicks were safe. Unfortunately none of them could fly anywhere.
The parents were flying between the chicks trying to encourage them to fly but for a long time, they just stayed where they were:
Eventually one chick made it up to the top of the garden wall and hid in the hedging there. The other two chicks kept trying to fly but weren’t making any progress.
I popped back inside and then heard the parent birds start squawking again. This time there was a cat climbing up the fence. We’ve been here 15 months and it was the first cat we’d seen in the garden. People aren’t supposed to have free-range cats in the community (every so often an email is sent round from the management company reminding everyone that cats should be kept inside!) We scared the cat away and then the girls took on guard duties.
The stronger chick made it up through the hedge to the top of the wall, leaving only the little chick still on the ground. The Daddy bird was never far from it:
There were constant squawks of encouragement and after another hour the little bird was in the relative safety of the hedge. From there we lost sight of it so I’m hoping it made it up to the top of the wall to join the rest of its family. It was a couple of days early for them to be leaving the nest but they seemed to be doing ok.