Chat with Deb — Mr. & Mrs. C.

It’s not just our birds, it turns out…

ME: (to Deb, as she enters our kitchen) You just missed Mister and Missus C!

Our kitchen window and our back porch have great views of our ornamental cherry tree and feeding spots (why yes, we did have it planned it that way, thanks for asking) for critters. We have a suet feeder, a seed feeder (with anti-squirrel capabilities), and a compressed-corn holder (because yes, Dennett, the squirrels are cute).

We have had a pair of cardinals as customers for almost as long as we’ve been in the house (22 years this month). Obviously not the same pair the whole time, although apparently if a cardinal can make it into adulthood then they have a good shot at making it to double digits in age. But every year, we see the male cardinal feed the female. In previous years, he’s used seeds from the feeder.

DEB: He was feeding her again?

ME: Twice. Both times he went to the suet feeder, got a chunk, and went back to her. The first time she was sitting on the seed feeder, at one of the top ports, so that flummoxed him momentarily because there were no handy perches; then he just grabbed on to part of the feeder above her, leaned down, and offered her the suet chunk. That done, he flew back to the suet, pecked another chunk, looked over at the seed feeder, and she was gone. But inside of a second he spotted her on the ground, flew down, and gave her a second tidbit. Neither time did Mrs. C. show any baby budgie behavior.¹ Then they flew off.

DEB: Aww! They’re so cute!

ME: I did a quick online search. This is apparently standard cardinal behavior.

Screenshot from my laptop of just a portion of the pics that popped up in response to “cardinal male feeds female” — all better than anything I got from our pair of cardinals, who are lousy at posing

ME: But the descriptions for the male feeding the female say this is courting behavior, yet another search says they mate for life. So they mate for life but still court?

DEB: You do nice things for me, Jackster, since we’ve been married. As a matter of fact, you feed me all the time! You make lunches when I’m working at the church office, and you cook suppers most nights.² But you aren’t trying to court me. You won me a long time ago.

Leans over for a smooch.

ME: Thank you, honey!

I suppose any happily married couple has a husband³ who likes to do nice things. And gets spoiled in return.

¹Deb’s name for a avian adolescent hunger dance — wings waving, mouth wide open, head down but face upward, sometimes with pitiful little cheaps. We’ve seen birds who are perfectly capable of flight stand next to food sources and demand an adult feed them. Any adult—we’ve seen adult birds feed whining youth who are definitely not their kids. Anybody who complains about “today’s youth” not working should watch young birds.

²I like to cook, and I can do it from “so, what’s in the cupboard and fridge?” with little notice. Deb likes to cook, but she needs to plan, ponder recipes, have a grocery list, and get all the ingredients and cookware out in advance. So she does special occasions with a menu, I do regular meals with a hazy memory of what I threw together. It all works out.

³Make that “spouse,” on further reflection. My ex-wife, Linda, and her wife, Carol, make fancy dinners for each other; go on romantic trips; and enjoy each other’s company doing special and mundane activities. And that’s just the stuff they post on Facebook!




Stories of Dennett (Wildflower) & Ben (Weed) & Our Guests

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Jack Herlocker

Jack Herlocker

Husband & retiree. Developer, tech writer, & IT geek. I fill what’s empty, empty what’s full, and scratch where it itches. Occasionally do weird & goofy things.

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