The Cardinal Rule

In my house, the cardinal rule is always that no-one goes hungry. And that includes the birds. l’m certain l’ve gushed more than once about our love of birds. Our property is unmanicured and very natural and wild. Birds and other critters feel safe here.

We have lots of weedy, unkempt gardens. Our lawn has dandelions, clover, moss, ragweed, plantain and even some actual grass. We have natural, native plants like Deciduous Holly, Cotoneaster and Barberry, Elderberry,..all gifts. As the birds are drawn to our feeders they poop out the natural seeds and berries that are their true diet. They’ve sown their own crops to harvest and made our land beautiful in the process.

When our son, lsaac, was 7 or 8 he celebrated his May birthday in a place like no other. The cottage of his grandparents in Gegogan Harbour, Guysbourough County and pictured above. He is pictured, having morning coffee by a 6 am. campfire with godmother Donna below this past November.

On that 1999 birthday, my very best friend, ( who all of my children adore for a million reasons,..) gave him a National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds and his very own binoculars. From that day forward we have been dedicated birdy people.

Through the years we’ve had an amazing variety of feathered friends. Never though, a Cardinal. In November 2020 a beautiful male arrived. I often wonder if one of our insane windstorms brought him here by chance. For months he stayed within hearing distance of our home. He made a habit of popping in at dawn to be the “early bird” who enjoyed all of the peanuts and sunflower seeds from the wild birdseed mix l shared daily.

Mr. Redbird was bold enough for me to have captured many photos with my phone. He sang all day long and his melodies eventually attracted a mate. She played hard to get in the photos, much harder to catch. They made a match and had little ones. When the young fledged he travelled further afield, now visiting many of my envious neighbours at long last, in order to keep the brood fed and happy. Then almost to the anniversary date of his arrival, he disappeared with his new family. I really miss him. He made my Covid weary heart sing.

A blurry shot of he and bashful she..

. I’m hoping if l keep him in my art and my heart that he will return.

2 thoughts on “The Cardinal Rule

  1. Love this so much Jan! Your writing is beautiful and descriptions paint such a vivid, accurate picture in my mind. I’ll never forget the morning I was over and caught a glimpse of the magnificent Mr. Cardinal! The first and so far only one I’ve ever. Thank you for nurturing all the critters around your house – including the kids – and for showing me all of the beautiful feathered friends that come to visit! My heart still skips remembering when you pointed him out to me. So beautiful and exciting! I bet he will come back some day, or maybe one of his kiddos xoxo

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