A quiet few weeks have passed and I'm just enjoying life at home. The backyard is THE place to be at this time of year. No summer traffic traveling to and from places, cold beverages are a step away, BBQ always ready to go and it's just rest and relaxation with our crew of critters.
I have to admit I've kinda gotten turned off of the whole going out and birding, sharing what I see, because it's turning into no matter what I see, someone wants to know where I saw it. And it doesn't matter what. Red-winged Blackbird in some reeds. Where was this? Lovely Cardinal in the woods. Please tell me. It's going beyond the Owls. Half the time I am uncertain if an individual wants to see the bird or attempt to recreate an image I got for themselves. Digital photography soars to new levels. It's competitive with so many people. And some people lack the passion, the adventure and often don't know what they are shooting even in the realm of Toronto's most common bird species.
My best answer to much of this is I bird locally in the west end of Toronto, 98% right around our own neighbourhood, very close to home... if not for the sake of the birds, I just don't want strangers lurking around here. I try not to be mean about it. I know not everyone is a selfish asshole, although I bet some call me that. LoL! It's not like I am hoarding some rare species. I do try to encourage these people to just go outside, pick a place in their own area, go for a walk. Just open your eyes and ears, and shut your mouth. Have fun. Don't go out with expectations. Even if you only see a Cardinal, embrace the moment with such a beautiful bird.
My absolute most favorite shot of a Northern Cardinal I have ever taken. Full frame bird photos aren't always necessary or the best. I hate people bragging how close they got to a bird to get the shot. This was with a little point and shoot Canon Powershot that some "pros" out there made a lot of fun about.
Which brings me to what this brief blog is about...
A highlight for me in our backyard the last couple weeks has been a family of Northern Cardinals coming in. We have Cardinals all year long but it's a little more special right now with dad bringing the kids in. The kids are funny looking, very vocal and fluttery (demanding).
It's so nice to watch the dad take such great care of his children, ensuring they both get well fed.
And over a few days, I can see the kids develop, one advancing quicker than the other, feeding more and more on his own. It's probably an age factor as even a couple days old with bird siblings makes a difference.
Mom has been coming in too, but isn't nearly as hands on as dad. It's something I should try and look up because over the years I do see mostly the dad feeding the kids. Even after a decade of birding, I still wonder about things with our most common visitors.
We are very fortunate to have a backyard. It has taken years to create what we have here. We cherish moments like these. You know that saying "There's no place like home"? So very true for Angie and I.
True fact. I've loved Cardinals all my life. Even as a small child, I would cut them out of books. I was always drawn to their beauty. When Angie and I started dating, she made mention of how I should put up a bird feeder in the yard. We did that soon after, just going to Walmart and buying a feeder pole, a cheap green gazebo feeder and some seed. It took 2 weeks and the first birds to find the feeder was a pair of Cardinals. I'm sure I have made mention of this in another blog over the years. I left Angie one very excited voice mail at her apartment, full of colorful expletives with my excitement at seeing this lovely couple. Alas, it was long before the days of owning a camera so there is no image to share. The one in my head, I can still see it, I remember exactly where the set up was out there.