So when I got home from work today, I decided I would check on the Cardinal’s nest I wrote about in my last post. As I walked up to the nest, I inadvertently flushed out a female cardinal who exploded out of the tangle of vines. In her absence, I tried to get a look at the nest. Could it be?
I think so …
Yes, definitely! At least two cardinal eggs, sky blue with speckles.
I’m excited! Are you excited? Of course you are!
Here are a few interesting facts about cardinal nests and eggs that I gleaned off of allaboutbirds.org and other sites. First off, it is common for Cardinals to leave the nest for up to six days after it is completed, which explains the “abandonment” I wrote about.
According to allaboutbirds.org: “A week or two before the female starts building, she starts to visit possible nest sites with the male following along.” This sounds a lot like what happens when our family moves into a new house. I wonder if they use a realtor.
The female chews on twigs to make them pliable, then bends them around herself to make a cup-shaped nest. The nest has four layers: coarse twigs, a leafy mat, grape-vine bark, and finally grasses and other fine materials. The eggs incubate for one to two weeks, with the female egg-sitting and the male bringing her food.
As for the chipmunk, after discovering the eggs I immediately found my container of rodent repellent and sprayed it liberally on the ground and on the lower parts of the vines. The whole area smells like bear piss right now, but I’m sure that will fade. I also have to hope that the mama cardinal will repel Alvin the Terrible if he is not deterred by the smell. I think I’ll look into chipmunk traps.
In any case, congratulate me! If all goes well, we’re going to have baby birds!
Have you discovered any nests or baby critters in your garden?
I’m excited for you! I haven’t seen a Cardinal in years – one fallout from leaving the Midwest. So thank you for sharing, it’s bringing back lots of great bird memories from my youth!
Cardinals are such a great bird, I would miss them if I moved away.
What a surprise, good to hear! It’s nice when the efforts you make for wildlife are appreciated.
I was certainly surprised. Goes to show don’t draw hasty conculsions.
Congratulations! I’d tell you to get a cat (our chipmunk population all but disappeared when we got one), but that wouldn’t be so great for the baby birds, now would it!
I did have two pairs of cardinals visiting my feeders all winter and spring, and then a pair of catbirds arrived. The cardinals came less frequently, but some rude blue jays started coming, The cardinals showed up even less often. I’ve stopped putting out food for now, in hopes that the catbirds and their friends will forget about this spot, and that the cardinals will be brave enough to come back.
If you have too many nuisance birds it may be worth just providing water. I think food for the birds is plentiful right now, water is usually harder to get.
Yayyy!! How exciting! What beautiful eggs too! I’ve never seen them.
This was also the first time I had seen Cardinal eggs. I agree, they are beautiful.
Lovely! We had redstarts under our eaves this year. I only got to see them when they had their first flying lessons!
That’s very cool!
Congratulations! So glad to hear there are babies on their way. I just hope everything’s going straight with that chipmunk… Why don’t you leave him some scrambled egg somewhere so to keep him fed and too heavy to climb the vines? You can add some buttered toast too, I bet he’d like it.
Well well, keep us posted about the eggs, how long do we have to ‘sit’ to see the babies now?
I could leave out a lot of heavy, fattening food and gradually his ability to climb would be compromised. Perhaps Twinkies and Hostess Cupcakes, or french fries from McDonald’s.
I have a blue jay nesting here and had robins earlier. We have a lot of cats in the neighborhood so I know what you’re going through with the chipmunk.
We have seen very few bluejays the last couple years. Also there are fewer cats this year, not sure why.
Fabulous! We have had numerous birds nests. I am always amazed that as many birds make it to adulthood with all the hurdles they face. Nature is a tough place! I hope to see you post about your baby birds soon. The eggs are beautiful!
We’re keeping an eye on that nest, watched the male fly back and forth this afternoon. You are definitely right that nature is a tough place.
Congratulations on the babies-to-be! We have a couple of pairs of cardinals, but I’ve yet to find their nests. We did have a mourning dove nest this year that was easy to see. The grandkids really enjoyed seeing the eggs and little fledglings up close.
I’ve just been scrolling through your Fling posts, Jason. Looks like you saw some amazing gardens–and very different from our Illinois landscapes. I’m still wondering how “The Wave” garden gets by with only 8 hours of maintenance a week!
We have lots of mourning doves, but I have never seen their nests. I agree about The Wave – but I suspect professional gardeners work a lot faster than us amateurs.
I am excited! Keep us posted. Should we start picking out names?
I’m keeping my mind open on names.
Okay, i found the shell of such eggs in my garden. Does that mean the eggs got eaten or does that mean the birds hatched? And they were found in unlikely places — like in pots in my patio where no nests could be made. Congratulations to the proud…will you be grandpa or half-father :-)?
Not sure about your question, I would think it could mean either. I think I should be considered the Godfather. I’m sure the Cardinals would want that.
I read this on the train this morning and tried to comment from my new iPhone but maybe that doesn’t work in transit. This is indeed exciting! My guess is she probably lays one egg a day? You are becoming quite a birder. And now a bird monitor! I always see the youngsters at the feeders but the birds are nesting somewhere else. Congratulations.
An egg a day? That sounds tiring.
We have one egg in our nest. We had one egg in an earlier nest, so I was impressed that the mother does indeed go away for as long as six days and then returns. I am hoping we have more than one. Our neighbor had four Robins in their first nest then another nest also appeared. So we in bird heaven.
Your garden is definitely welcoming to all of these birds…looking forward to following the further adventures of the cardinals! 🙂
Thanks – me too!
Those eggs are so pretty! Keep us posted – I’m interested to see what baby cardinals look like.
I’m TERRIFIED of birds, and have my second robin in 2 months laying on some eggs on my porch. The first robin hatched 3 babies in one corner of the porch; all 3 made it and finally flew the nest. The current nest is right outside my front door so I’m always afraid she’s going to divebomb my head (please see the aforementioned bird phobia). Not sure how many eggs she’s sitting on but I think we’ll find out very soon.
Sorry about your phobia. I have had birds divebomb my head, it is pretty disconcerting.
Wow! You lucky dogs! I’ve never seen a cardinal in real life and you have the excitement of watching them raise a family! Very exciting & I can’t wait to see more posts about the exciting developments in your bird-friendly vine tangle!
OOPS, I used exciting three times! That’s how excited I am (or how limited my vocabulary is.)
Oh wow!!!! What a wonderful bird to have nesting in your garden, I loved this, a real treat for me!xxxx
Like outlaw Peter, I’ve never even seen a cardinal. (We have mostly ducks in the Pacific Northwest.) I don’t get the chipmunk anxiety but I guess they must eat eggs? I never would have suspected it of them. I just hope you don’t end up with a bunch of bears in your garden after that other maneuver. But maybe you are trying to actually scare the chipmunk to death…
Anyway I can’t wait to see the babies! (Cardinals not bears.)
Hard to imagine a garden without cardinals. Fortunately there are no bears in this area.
Congrats, you proud poppa! Hope they hatch into healthy chicks.
I’m more like the godfather, I think.
Not only do I have chipmunks terrorizing the birds in the garden I have baby rabbits eating some of the hostas. UGH… there are more baby birds and critters here than the lot allows. It is fun to see young cardinals, wrens, mockingbirds and catbirds bouncing around in the shrubs. Lucky you having a nest down where you can see it.
I agree about the birds in the shrubs, especially if the shrubs have berries!
Um, well I’ve seen baby chipmunks! And baby rabbits! Just what I need! Good luck with the chipper repellent–I hope it works better for you than it did for me (or that you have a different kind). The chipmunks actually seemed more attracted to my planters when I used a commercial hot pepper repellent. The only thing that worked for me was to scatter crushed Marigolds around the area. And now I’ve reverted to planting Cacti in the pots to keep the chippers out. Ouch! Look out guys! Enjoy the baby cardinals!
Thanks! Sorry about the baby chipmunks and rabbits.
Congratulations. I think cardinal eggs are among the prettiest of all our backyard birds. I hope your pair have a successful hatch.
Now that I’ve seen cardinal eggs, I agree.
Congrats on the upcoming babies…we have bluebirds in the new house…it seems dozens of juvenile sparrows and a new robin’s nest in our front tree…we are still a nursery here…can’t wait to see the baby robins and bluebirds, I hope!
It seems very special to me to have bluebirds in your garden. I think it is a little too urban here for them.
Congratulations! Cardinals are so lovely to look at. I hope Mama repels Alvin and I’ll await photos of the offspring.
We are waiting with baited breath, and will announce the news when it occurs.
I’m jealous! I had what I think is a cardinal nest, but no eggs. Congratulations on the grandchildren.
Hmm. I like to think of myself as a godfather. I’m not ready to be a grandfather.
Congratulations! Good luck trying to outsmart a chipmunk. I would get that cage. I have also read they will return from up to four miles away. I take mine to a Bank of America near us and across an eight-lane highway. It is a pathetic but satisfying bank protest on my part and if the little sucker can cross that highway back to my house it deserves a second chance. Have fun with the egg watch!
Thanks! You may have pioneered a new area of social protest with your chipmunk. I can imagine a strategy of gradual escalation, culminating in a skunk let loose in the corporate president’s office.