Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cardinal Nest

I know that Northern Cardinals can extend their nesting season into September, but this is the first time I’ve found a nest with eggs this late in the season. Of course, this hasn’t been a typical year. I think the rainy spring weather disrupted the nesting attempts of many species. I have found a lot of late nests, but I’ve not seen many young birds.

I was hurrying through this field yesterday evening when I flushed a female cardinal from a cedar tree. The way she carried on told me that there was probably something in the tree worth taking a look at. I stopped to investigate.

Far out on some side branches was a nest. Located about six feet off the ground, it looked like a typical collection of debris that you’re likely to find stuck in the branches of any old cedar.

For nests that are within easy reach of predators, I guess it’s best not to look too much like a nest.

Considering the violent storm that came through here early Sunday morning, these eggs are lucky to be intact. A cluster of large cedars to the west of the nest site must have been enough to provide a wind break sufficient to keep the nest tree calm. I watched some more exposed cedars get whipped and bounced in a way that would have dislodged anything held in the branches. I wish these eggs continued good luck.

The female Cardinal continued to circle and scold as I photographed her nest. I finished up as quickly as I could, so she could get back to her duties.


  1. HI Steve...unusual...Renee and I both have had male Cardinals around that seem to be very vocal like a mating call...we had wonder about that ???
    Are there many eggs that have those markings?
    I had a nest that had eggs that looked just like that, but found that they must have been abandoned they are still there with no sign of any birds!!
    Good luck to the family!!

  2. I find it interesting that Cardinals build nests so low to the ground. They nest in the hedges on our property often. They are so low to the ground that an adult can look down into the nest. A recent year the Cardinals built their nest in the hedge next to our garage, next to our access to the upper terrace of our yard where I have the compost bins. Every day when I walked past with stuff for the bins I would be dive-bombed by Mama Cardinal.

    Great post. Love seeing those Cardinals.

  3. Hi, grammie g. Speckling on eggs is fairly common and the pattern could vary quite a bit within a species, so there could be some other species that would resemble the Cardinal egg. If the nest is fairly close to the ground, then it could very well be a Cardinal. It's a shame the nest was abandoned.

    Hi, Lois. It's funny how some birds never get used to your presence and continue to swoop at you even though you've never bothered their nests. I guess when most of your actions are dictated by instinct, you don't have much chance for variation.