The view from our bedroom overlooks our fenced-in backyard, with its proliferation of birch trees, honeysuckle, lilacs, and a host of other bushes and shrubs I can’t identify. I don’t generally spend too much time staring out the bedroom window, although the yard does afford us a rather pleasant view, and with the nice weather upon us, I keep the windows open as often as possible. The sweet sound of birds wakes us in the morning (usually around 5:00 a.m.), and provides pleasant background music while I’m working in my home office across the hall.
Earlier this spring, I began hearing some additional sounds, which I quickly learned were emanating from a bird’s nest in a bush beneath one of the bedroom windows, where I discovered a couple of baby birds singing for their supper. Almost as quickly as they appeared, though, they were gone, leaving the empty nest behind.
In June, a second nest appeared in the same bush, about two feet out from and slightly below the bedroom window. Since my work was keeping me busy at home, I had the time to really observe the goings-on, like a nosy next-door neighbor.
High up in my perch, I’d watch as two tiny beaks would eagerly reach up above the nest’s rim, waiting for their mother to bring them seeds or plants or insects, or whatever it is that birds eat. Often, I’d see a brown-hued cardinal flitting to the nest with some sort of sustenance in her beak, and drop it into one of the little mouths. Then she’d fly away, only to return a short time later with food for the other baby.
Then, a bright red cardinal (the father, I assumed) began arriving, also with food for Bubba and Bixby (as I’d named the babies by this point). Over the course of a few days, both parents visited the nest many times, feeding the babies and making sure predators were kept away. Whenever I’d hear the excited chirping of the babies, I’d run to the window to watch them feed.
One afternoon, it started raining, and when I looked out, I saw the mother sitting protectively on top of her little ones in the nest, keeping them safe and dry.
A day later, I wasn’t surprised to see the fuzzy fledglings begin to explore the edge of the nest, hopping up from the cup-like warmth of the interior to the hard, twiggy rim, and I knew it was only a matter of time before they left for good.
Finally, Bubba or Bixby (I’m not sure which one), made the leap from the edge of the nest to a nearby twig, and within 20 minutes, flew off. His sibling quickly followed, and the nest was abandoned at last. I couldn’t help but feel a little sad, knowing that I probably wouldn’t see Bubba and Bixby again, and the experience filled me with a new appreciation for nature and prompted me to research the nesting habits of cardinals. I learned, thanks to the internet, that cardinals don’t migrate, and that the male and female have three “broods,” as they call them, per season, each in a different nest, which is abandoned once the babies have flown the coop, so to speak. Usually the mother feeds the first two broods, but both parents feed the third and final brood, which is exactly what I had observed. It all served to remind me that my own daughter will be leaving the nest next year for college, and I’ll know then just how the cardinals must feel.
In this, our August 2017 issue of Home, we focus on the best of summer: writer Rebecca Dimyan addresses the topic of grills and grilling, our Home Personality section features some of the most beautiful pools you can imagine, and Nancy Helle tells us about Waterbury House, an historic Darien home that blends the best of the old with the new.
Finally, I’d like to take a moment to remember Lois Alcosser, the sweetest lady and one of our long-time writers who passed away on July 8. A resident of Wilton, Lois was a graduate of Barnard College, and worked as a copywriter for several New York ad agencies. She was in the middle of writing a book when she passed away, and the lively and informative articles — I never failed to learn something from her — that she contributed to our supplements will be sorely missed.
Please email me at [email protected] with questions or comments.