"When a cardinal appears in your yard, it's a visitor from heaven."
~old folklore saying
After owls and other feathered friends this year ("Our Wild Kingdom" post on 5/14/18), we've noticed more cardinals than usual in our neighborhood. Who doesn't like those bright red birds? Seven states designated cardinals as their state bird - Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina.
Recently we've seen cardinals around the two Boston Ferns hanging on our front porch or perched on the chimes between them. We never thought much about it as I'd put pencils and sticks in to keep birds from building nests.
One evening late in July, a storm brewed. Before the wind got too wicked I took the flag down, unhooked the two chimes, and quickly plopped the ferns between the Adirondack chairs before running inside.
After the storm passed, but rain expected through the night, I set the ferns on the cement walk to get watered. "Oh my!" One had a small nest and two eggs. When did this happen? We carefully hung it back on the hook.
Cornell University's website says it takes 3-9 days for cardinals to build nests. We hadn't noticed nest building activity. Apparently when I watered lately, I'd simply stuck the spout of the watering can in the side of the basket hanging on the hook.
The next morning when "Mama Bird" was away, we carefully took the fern down to water it without interfering with the nest. Now there were three eggs!
Hatching has now occurred, and both Mama and Papa are busy feeding. I've seen little baby beaks raised high. I'm excited to see the little ones as they grow.
It's interesting that as I searched for cardinal quotes I found several that mentioned angels or visitors from heaven. It gave me pause. The two sets of chimes on our porch were gifts from friends after our mothers passed away. The first one for my mom has a wooden pendant with "When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure" engraved on it. Someone shared when the chimes sing that it's Mom. When my mother-in-law passed, other friends gave us the second chimes. When the wind blows, we do think of moms. Now the cardinals make us even more aware.