Baby Cardinals on the Porch

I don’t know what it is about moving to the country that turns people into nature lovers, but it most definitely happens.  When my wife’s parents retired to their farm, the grand kids started teasing them because they had more pictures of their “critters” than they did of any of them.  Well, the same thing is now happening to us.  We recently “hatched” three baby cardinals on our back porch.  The whole process was so exciting to watch that we took about a million pictures to document it. Because of these baby cardinals our kids have started to tease us just like they teased their grandparents 15 years ago.

“Our” three cardinal eggs

The cardinal experience started when my wife and I noticed something making a nest in a potted plant  on the back porch.  We enjoyed watching the progress but we had no idea what was building it.  It was truly amazing to watch a few pieces of dry grass begin to twist together to form the most perfect little nest you ever saw.

Our babies right after hatching

After about three weeks of watching the nest take shape, we came home one afternoon and found the cutest little brown speckled egg in the nest. Once that first egg arrived we began to pay close attention to the back porch.  After the second egg appeared in the nest we finally saw a lovely female cardinal sitting on the nest.  The next morning we went out and found the third an final egg.

Hungry babies!

Once we were certain that we had cardinals, we decided to find out how the rest of this little drama would progress.  So, we went to Google and discovered some very interesting cardinal facts.  Cardinals typically lay 3 eggs but they can lay anywhere from one to five.  The female does all of the incubation and she doesn’t start to sit until she has finished laying.  The eggs will hatch in 11 to 13 days after she starts sitting.  Once hatched, both the male and female will feed the young.  The male gets the extra benefit of defending the territory and carrying off the little poops sacks that the young expel.  The baby cardinals are fast growing and they fledge, or leave the nest, 9 to 11 days after hatching.

Our babies are ready to leave the nest

All of these facts were proven out by our three baby birds.  They hatched 11 days after the female starting sitting.  The first brave baby left the nest on day 9 and the other two were gone when we came home on day 10.  It was so exciting to watch this avian miracle of life unfold right before us.  Watching these birds go from egg to first flight in 20 days was truly amazing to me.  I guess this is why people that move to the country become nature lovers.  In the country you have the opportunity to get close to nature.  And, the closer you get, the more and more amazing it is to watch.

Since our kids are tired of seeing the pictures, I hope you don’t mind us sharing these with you.  Enjoy!