Backyard Adventures

Empty Nesters Tending the Nests


We had the most beautiful day last Sunday and it will be imprinted in my mind forever. Here we are-empty nesters, and we spent the day “tending nests”! We had a pair of cardinals who were frequent visitors to our yard this spring and I caught this photo of the male cardinal last Saturday. When I enlarged it on the computer you could see the cardinal was carrying two green worms in his beak. So Sunday morning we set out on a hunt for the nest, and sure enough, within five minutes we found the cardinal nest with four babies, in the woods that border our house.

Dick set up the tripod and shot most of the pictures. We caught a number of feedings, catching both the male and female at the nest. It was hard to get a good angle because of all the trees, vines and shrubs, but Dick did a great job of clearing the site and getting in as close as possible. The fledglings were big enough that we could see them pretty well when they stretched their heads up in anticipation of being fed.

We had already been following a family of chickadees who had taken up residence in a birdhouse by the pond in the backyard. If you look closely in the tree, you can see the birdhouse from the side view.

 We set up our photographic equipment there as well and took turns covering all the feedings. We discovered a third nest on Sunday but couldn’t see well enough to identify the bird. We had our hands full between the two active nests anyway. I remember around 1 PM when I asked Dick if he wanted to switch and watch over the cardinal nest, he replied,”what about feeding the humans?”so we took a lunch break.

That night, on Sunday, May 20th, Dick had a seizure and ended up being transported to Brigham Hospital in Boston, where we have spent this past week. It has been an incredibly stressful, sad time for our family as Dick has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. The cardinals are gone now. I hope they survived and have flown off, but nature reminds us how fragile life is. We are surrounded by loving family and friends taking care of us, feeding us, nurturing us, just as we watched the birds do. We took great pleasure in watching the fledglings being  cared for by their parents. Now we are fortunate to have our loving children watching over us.  We appreciate everyone’s love, prayers, and support.

Last summer the house wren started a nest in the very same birdhouse.