How cute are these two? For the last couple of weeks, we have been on baby watch at the Benefield house.  A pair of cardinals built a nest in the tree directly to the right of our back door and deck.  FYI, cardinals are known for building their nests in relatively well-hidden areas. According to BirdFact.com, they will typically tuck their nests "in the fork of branches, shrubs or tangled vine."

I only know this because Kevin became obsessed with these baby birds. I mean, OBSESSED.  If he could have trained to be their wet nurse, he would have.  He was like a substitute helicopter parent.  Every day, he hovered. He was like a drone with a pulse and a cigarette. Anytime the momma or papa cardinal flew away to get food, Kevin would stress until they came back. He was like a strange human uncle to the birds. It was as fascinating to watch him as it was to watch the birds. I told my mom he'd probably try to breast feed the things if he didn't think their beaks would hurt him.

I have to admit though. They were fun and fascinating to watch. We knew there was a nest in the shrub and had been watching, as best we could, the mom and dad come around occasionally and feed the babies. Because they were "tucked" in their nest, they were VERY difficult to see.  However, we could occasionally hear the babies when they were hungry. They were pretty vocal and determined to let their parents know when they were ready to eat.  We watched them for about a week or so.

Honestly, I thought the baby cardinals had already vacated the nest when I asked my landscaper to cut that tree/shrub back.  As it turns out, they were still there and, because they were no longer "hidden", we were able to really watch them grow out of the nest and prepare for flight school.

Chad Benefield
Chad Benefield
loading...

When they first climbed out of the nest, they didn't go too terribly far.  The nest was just a couple of limbs away.

Chad Benefield
Chad Benefield
loading...

By the way, that's a baby cardinal's hungry face.  I had looked in the nest to see if the birds were still there.  When I didn't see them, I just figured they had flown away or a predator had plucked them from the nest.  But then, I saw that they had both moved from the nest and had perched in the shrub.  And, because that shrub is literally adjacent to our back deck, I was able to get some great photos.

Chad Benefield
Chad Benefield
loading...

And this pic is one of my favorites.  They were both quite intrigued by the guy with the iPhone.

Chad Benefield
Chad Benefield
loading...

I also took some video of them.  This is adorable!

After climbing out of the nest, they didn't stay put for long. Later that same day, the birds flew all the way across the yard.  One of the birds flew over the neighbor's fence and perched in a tree there.  The other set up shop in our tree on the far left-hand side of the yard.  I was able to get some really good photos of that one.

attachment-Card7
loading...

The birds spent one night in their temporary homes and were gone the next day. I am guessing they mastered the art of flying (quickly, I might add) and went off to explore that big beautiful world beyond our backyard. Since mating season carries on through September, who knows?  Maybe another new family will move in.

Just in case you're also obsessed with cardinals and their babies too, check this out!

Get our free mobile app

 

LOOK: Stunning animal photos from around the world

From grazing Tibetan antelope to migrating monarch butterflies, these 50 photos of wildlife around the world capture the staggering grace of the animal kingdom. The forthcoming gallery runs sequentially from air to land to water, and focuses on birds, land mammals, aquatic life, and insects as they work in pairs or groups, or sometimes all on their own.