Cardinals have had little success in raising a family in the close environs of our garden. From making a nest in an umbrella which took off during a storm to the theft of babies from at least 3 nests. Last year the cardinal made a nest in the little espaliered yaupon by the greenhouse.
It certainly looked like a good place to make a nest but after the eggs hatched less than a week went by and all activity ceased. The nest was empty. A snake? a hawk? or a scrub jay. All would steal from a nest and we have seen it happen before our eyes.
I removed the nest and used it for a little garden decoration.
So what happened this year was a cardinal started to build a nest again, in the same place in the same tree. Could this be the same bird? For a week it was busy building and then one morning I went out to find downy feathers on the ground beneath the yaupon and blowing around in the potting shed(the door had been open overnight). It looked as though there had been an event. This time I thought hawk. I felt sure it was the end of that nest because there was no further activity. But no, more than a week later I saw the female fly in and when I took a look there were 2 eggs in there and eventually 3. When the female started to sit she would leave the eggs early in the morning. I always knew when she came back because she would sit on the rose and tweet. My signal to leave whatever gardening I was doing. A successful sitting and eventually the eggs hatched and both parent were busy flying back and forward.
I have worried over their survival for over a week now as there has been a hawk flying over daily. Plus the birds are getting noisy. You can hear them from afar. I spy on them from a crack in the potting shed doors and if mother is gone I can take a peak just to make sure all is well. Plus the cardinals are so obvious. That flash of red as they swoop into the nest. Other birds seem to be far more secretive.
She feeds, they nap and so the day goes on. This time I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a safe fledging. It can't be long now. Then the real dangers of the outside world begin.