Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Mystery of the Hopping Cardinal

Walking through the neighborhood this morning, my eye was caught by a young male Cardinal that landed in the grass not too far away.

He was obviously a juvenile, being slim and fairly small, but with a bright red color that contrasted wonderfully with the vivid green grass.

He looked around cautiously and then gave a great hop forward. Again, he looked around and another great hop. The third time this happened I thought, "What is going on?"
Via Wikipedia

There was a grasshopper just ahead of the bird, as it turns out. Every time it gave a hop so would the cardinal. Since I was standing and watching, all the nearby birds got quiet. Except for one chirp from overhead in a tree. I couldn't see the bird but I wondered if that was mama calling.

Sure enough, that little guy caught his hopper and flew up to the roof. Bam -- the other bird landed near him. Significantly larger, but definitely female, this had to be mom. She surveyed him as he gulped.

I rarely get to see those sorts of scenes acted out in nature so it was a real treat.


  1. During Christmastime I teased the kids that Cardinals were not allowed in the house as any type of decoration -- since they beat the Rangers in the World Series! Ha! I do love Cardinals. I always stop to look at them. I'm with you. Seeing nature in action is wonderful!

  2. We had one this morning too! We have put out a bird feeder this summer and it has attracted an extraordinary amount of birds to our backyard. Two days ago there was this small bird with a brown head and neck and a navy blue body. I have no idea what it was. This morning a bright red male cardinal stopped at our deck. He sat on the BBQ and then did a back flip to the floor before he flew away. Very cool. It was a treat for me too.