Sunday, June 7, 2015
For the past several weeks, my husband and I have noticed a male cardinal perched outside our kitchen window on the top of a shepherd's hook that holds a wind chime. He appears to be watching us move about inside the kitchen. Often, while we're studying the cardinal from inside our home, he seems to be studying us, as well. It's as if we're trying to stare each other down. The bird is quite handsome, with its bright red plumage, pointed crest and black mask. I have read that cardinals tend to mate for life and that the dutiful male can often be seen engaging in "mate feeding" by selecting a seed and placing it with his beak into the beak of his partner. The romantic in me enjoys this reported aspect of the male cardinal's ritual as what I would consider a sign of love and affection. Seeing as northern cardinals mate at this time of year, perhaps our visitor has been scouting about for any potential predators for the sake of his female partner as she builds the all-important nest. And seeing as Father's Day occurs this month, perhaps our window watcher is spying on us to ensure that we won't disturb that nearby nest with its precious contents. Friends have told me that when they see a cardinal (either male or female), they believe that a dear, departed loved one has come back as a cardinal, if only for that moment, to watch them and ensure that they are alright. I'd like to believe that, too. My late mom used to make cardinals out of red and black felt. One of them is always perched in my home office. As lovely as Mom's handmade cardinals are, right now, I'll continue to be fixated on our real-life cardinal guest, as he busily observes our comings and goings and we watch and enjoy his.