A Modest Cardinal

May 10, 2013: It has been one of those weeks. To match my mood it has been raining. This morning as I left my door a chickadee sat on my potted tomato plant’s cage and didn’t budge. It was unwilling to re-enter the rain. I left it to its perch. It looked soaked. Later that morning, I saw a cardinal come right up to the sliding door, lift its head and look in longingly. It was really raining hard. After the rain had slowed, I went out to empty pots that had overfilled with water. A chickadee approached me on the wooden rail at about an arm’s distance and chirped loudly as if to let me know, I did in fact owe them something for staying dry. I went and filled the front feeder.

My cousin had some questions about birds and I thought I would share our email conversation here.

Her first question was: Why is the pileated woodpecker pecking loudly on the metal parts of the house?

“ …you [had] asked about why the pileated woodpecker is making all that 
racket on the house, it is called drumming. There appears to be a variety 
of reasons they would drum, such as drawing in a mate, establishing 
territory, courtship, talk to each other or in response to being nervous 
about their nest. My best guess though is with it being spring and their 
nesting time of year; this has to do with nesting and mating. 
Look you are hosting singles night on your house, WHOOT!”

Here is a link where you can hear a pileated woodpecker drumming.

Her second question was: Why does a blue jay keep repeatedly running itself into the window (of the house)?

“Your blue jay is having a fight with itself. I think it is seeing its 
reflection in the glass and because blue jays are territorial, it is 
running into the glass to fight its reflection. [...] You could put a 
screen (to block the reflection) or something in front of the window […]. 
I think it may fight itself to the death if it is repeatedly running 
into the window.”

And since I did talk about a cardinal, I will share a picture of ‘A Regal Cardinal’, although the one I saw today looked more modest as it was thoroughly drenched.

A Regal Cardinal, Mary Champagne, watercolor

A Regal Cardinal, Mary Champagne, watercolor


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