The northern cardinal is one of nature’s most beautiful birds

By on June 17, 2022 0

For reasons that don’t require full disclosure, I’ve set up a temporary office in our kitchen near a bay window that happily connects me to the outside world – so lush and green, trees with neatly trimmed herbs, hedges with evergreen bushes and flowers.

In the foreground, there is a patio with wrought iron furniture which serves as an accomplice to the many birds that come our way. I can hear them singing in the early morning twilight. Starting your day when the birds are singing is one of life’s richest blessings. It comes free of charge. Nature does not charge. Nature does not ask for allowances to profit from its work.

As the chipmunks swoop in, I see a variety of birds strutting around out of sync and aimlessly, but always ready to slaughter anything edible – from insects to food scraps. I watch them dance itinerantly, engaging in bird talk, which makes me wonder what they are saying.

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Maybe they’re complaining that we don’t have a bird feeder, which I’ve thought about quite often, but don’t feel pressured to embrace obstacles for such an advantage that might make them stop more often – like hanging a water trough where squirrels can’t get to it.

I’m sure a bird feeder should be raccoon and squirrel proof. With deer constantly crossing our yard, I guess they would be attracted to a free meal like the others. However, a bird feeder compatible only for birds would improve the flourishing.

Already, I have an emotional enrichment for the birds that pass without any food incentive. I spotted the following thing since early March: a blue bird that reminds me of royalty. Then there are the occasional sparrows that offer nothing redeeming – the middle class of the birding world that makes them important. Like crows and houseflies, you encounter sparrows everywhere you go on planet Earth, although I haven’t been to Antarctica.

A blue jay will visit you from time to time. You always know when a blue jay is coming. All you have to do is listen to its cry. When he takes his companion and her friends, a restless cacophony interrupts the atmosphere. A mockingbird, a wren, a red-headed woodpecker – but never our state bird, the brown thrasher – have greeted me lately.

This brings me to my favorite feathered friend, the northern cardinal. I named him “Stan the man”, for the greatest cardinal (other than those who became pope). That would be the late Stan Musial of the St. Louis Cardinals. For a very long time, all I knew of this most beautiful of birds was that it was all red, which is why we simply called this bird a “red bird”. It was on the farm years ago, when a provincial upbringing had left me unwashed and unaware of many facts that would one day bring joy in learning.

Whatever I do, I stop when “Stan the Man” calls me. Her red coat shines brilliantly in the sunlight that invades the patio. Every time I see him, I stop and salute his existence.

The Cardinal is nature’s masterpiece. All that vibrant, chic red, complete with a black mask around her face. A dashing Cardinal, like “Stan the Man”, makes my day as it begins.

The northern cardinal is found from Maine in the Midwest to the Texas-Mexico border, from Nova Scotia to Belize. You can find them in Arizona, not the Phoenix football team, but the ones like “Stan the Man”.

I love hearing “Stan the Man” sing, but I had to go online to share his lyrics with you: “cheeeer-a-dote, cheeeer-a-dote; purdy, purdy, purdy… whoit, whoit, whoit, whoit, what-cheer, what-cheer, whet, whet, whet, whet, bravo, bravo, bravo, what, what, what, what.

It makes me want to go to St. Louis, don a baseball jersey with two cardinals perched on a bat, find my way through the base trails while vigorously chanting “cheeeer-a-dote, purdy, purdy “.