Tiny Cardinal Fledgling

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Last weekend I was doing yardwork and I noticed the loud persistent call of a baby cardinal coming from our oak tree.  Boy was that bird annoying!  He fussed the entire time that I was outside mowing.  The next day, I went out to clean out my birdbaths.  Rich looked up in surprise as I burst back in, grabbed my camera, ran back outside, and started crawling on my belly in the mulch.  The baby cardinal had fledged and flown to a bush in the backyard.  He was pretty well hidden in the leaves, but I was able to find an angle where I could see him.

Fledgling Cardinal
Fledgling Cardinal

What a cute little guy!  Look at the feathers just coming in around his eyes.  He didn’t yet have a tail.  He hung around in the bush and continued to fuss for Mom.  I’ve seen several cardinal families in our yard this year, and we have a couple of generations of babies flying around.  This guy is the youngest that I’ve photographed.  He’s so friendly, not yet afraid of people.  It’d be fun to get to see them when they first hatch, when they are tiny and naked in the bottom of their nest.  We do have a mockingbird nest in one of our crape myrtles this year, but I think the birds abandoned it before they even laid eggs.

Well, this little guy had something to say.  A lot of somethings, actually.  I was a little concerned that Mom and Dad weren’t taking care of him.  Play the video above to hear the sound of a baby cardinal. ;-)

A week later, I’m glad to report that this little guy is doing well.  I’ve yet to see an adult cardinal come in to feed him, but he’s stopped the incessant begging, so I know he’s getting enough to eat.  He’s gotten very good at catching bugs in mid-air.  He has also grown a nice tail.  He loves to hang out in the vines on my bird blind.  I’m glad I’m not the only one who likes the blind!

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