A cardinal recently built a nest in one of the bushes right by our porch.
Can you see it?
There she is.
Since I noticed her, I’ve done a little research. Did you know that male cardinals help the females incubate the eggs? And when the babies hatch, the male cares for the baby birds while the mother goes to build a new nest and lay more eggs. Bless their bird hearts, the dads do their best, but (like David’s daddy) their downfall seems to be attention to detail. It’s apparently really common for the cowbird to lay an egg in the cardinal nest and, without realizing it, the cardinal raises the cowbird as its own.
This website sums it up well, “Northern Cardinals are most helpful to humans by providing beauty with their bold colors and song.”
I’ve already found one nest on the ground, and Brigham has brought us several cardinals this spring, so I started to worry about this one. I understand the circle of life, but there was something about seeing this lady in her nest that made me feel connected to her.
I noticed a bird in the nest, and then for a week or two all I saw was this — an empty nest.
Me: Tom, there’s a cardinal nest in the bush outside and I’m worried about it.
Me: Because I haven’t seen the bird in a while and I really hope Brigham didn’t get it. And if Brigham didn’t get her, I don’t want him to. Especially if she lays eggs.
Tom: Aren’t cardinals aggressive? Maybe we don’t want a cardinal building a nest right beside our front door.
Me: I know, but they’re so pretty. And the cardinal is Virginia’s state bird.
Tom: Oh, I didn’t even think about that. We definitely don’t want Brigham going to jail.
Two weeks later:
Me: Tom, that cardinal I told you about is back.
Tom: What cardinal?
Me: The one I told you about in the nest by our door.
Tom: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Me: Remember? I told you I was worried about a cardinal and you said, “Why?” And I said, “I don’t want Brigham to kill it.” And you said, “Aren’t cardinals aggressive?” And I said, “But they’re the Virginia state bird.” And you said, “We don’t want Brigham to go to jail.” Remember?
Tom: Yeah. I think I remember something about that.
And if I could possibly sum up my marriage in one conversation…or maybe ALL marriages…or maybe ALL communication between men and women…that might be it.