I was sipping my tea today and reading the newspaper (a wonderful morning indulgence provided I get myself out of bed first thing in the morning) when I was suddenly aware of a bird singing in the backyard. Even with the windows closed, I could hear the strong, clear sound of a cardinal. But we’ve never had cardinals in our backyard before.
I went to the back door and looked out. I could still hear it, but I couldn’t see it. So I stepped out onto the deck–YUCK!–forgetting that it was still covered in freezing, slushy snow. Wet slippers, and still no sight of the cardinal. Drat.
I like to have birds around. They are a great indicator of a healthy neighbourhood, since they require water and a variety of vegetation nearby. We often have chickadees, purple finches, gold finches and the like hanging around nibbling at the leftover sunflowers or dried sedum blooms. But I have always longed for a cardinal of my very own.
Cardinals hang out in pairs, the striking red male and the much gentler grey-ish female. But what I learned last summer is that they are also territorial. They don’t travel around in big bunches like many of the other backyard species here in this part of Ontario. When I discovered that we already had a cardinal living close by, but not in my backyard, I was disappointed. I could see them, which was nice, but I couldn’t really visit with them all that much.
That is why I was so excited when I heard the cardinal song again this afternoon! It was louder this time, and I flew to the back door (pun completely intended) to look again. Even without getting my slippers wet, I could see Mrs. C singing happily, right in my own backyard! I made sure to say hello, and told her that she is welcome any time she likes. She could bring Mr. C with her, too, if he was so inclined.
I am happy to have a new neighbour. I will do my best to offer her some warm hospitality should she choose to stick around.