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May 2, 2013

In early spring I was pulled awake from winter’s dream, to see a crimson jet stream painted by a cardinal wing. Listening to these lovebirds sing, I stitched some more embroidery things.

Mama cardinal bird attacking her own reflection in a window to protect her nest.Embroidered cardinal bird couple on greet card design.Embroidered cardinal bird couple on greet card design.
© 2013, Dana Aubrey

Early spring is mating season for cardinals, a time when our cedar hedge becomes a popular place for them to build a hidden nest. The thatched canopy provides camouflage from hungry hawks circling above. Not long after this year’s couple moved in, the Mrs. went a bit Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs on our windows. I’m guessing the hormonal effects of reproduction might have kicked in.

All day long, in twenty-minute intervals, she tirelessly performed a security detail. This involved circular flybys around our house, which is in close proximity to her nest in the hedge. On each turn the mama bird landed on the sentry post that is our windowsill, and every time, as if for the very first time, she discovered another girl in the window staring back at her. Taken by surprise, she’d jump acrobatically in reverse to make a quick get-away. Then, a few seconds later, she’d boomerang back into view, launch towards the window, stop just short of hitting it, flutter to a mid-air halt, and nip and spit at the female intruder encroaching on her territory.

She did this over and over again, never quite figuring it out, that all along she has been defending her family against a mirror image of herself. It’s behavior like this from whence the expression ‘birdbrain’ comes from I guess.

Mama cardinal bird attacking her own reflection in a window to protect her nest.Mama cardinal bird attacking her own reflection in a window to protect her nest.
© 2013, Dana Aubrey

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Nancy permalink
    May 2, 2013 6:52 pm

    How incredibly cool! And how incredibly lucky you are to have been witness to this! It’s funny to think that to her, in her perimeter around her hedge world, well, your world does not register at all.
    Those photos are truly amazing…

    • May 7, 2013 9:45 am

      LOL. It has been cool and she makes me laugh. Now she’s moved on to the car windows. What a mess though…I’m starting to think window glass is the new birdbath.

  2. marina permalink
    May 3, 2013 10:20 am

    awesome, just as you described, love how you captured it all! The cards are so pretty a nice ode to mama birdbrain. 🙂


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