Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Click on pictures for full screen

You can see two of the three babies beaks in the left side of the nest

Daddy Cardinal watches from his perch in the orange tree

Big Red comes to check on his new recruits

Momma Cardinal feeds her young

By the time we get back from vacation, they will likely have left the nest

Home in PC
High of 93*

For the past few days we have played host to a male and female Cardinal, who chose our South Florida home to birth their three babies. The nest is located in a tree just outside of our hot tub lanai, in perfect view from our family room. We have taken great delight in photographing the happy couple as they, in turn, feed the young hatchlings. What better place to raise a Cardinal family than in the yard of the Arizona Cardinals biggest fans?

This afternoon, after coming home from work, I was watching the nest and waiting for the proud parents to return for the afternoon feeding session. Suddenly I spotted a 2' black racer snake making his way up the branch toward the nest. I quickly entered the lanai and pounded on the screen window, startling the snake as I hollered for help for Kathy and Billy. They responded and kept him occupied while I armed myself with a shovel from the shed. Hearing the commotion, Bob and Eleanor came to help. Bob identified the serpent as a racer, not dangerous to humans, but he confirmed that it would certainly eat the baby birds if we didn't kill him.

83 year old Bob, newly nicknamed "Snake Charmer", reached into the tree and snatched the snake with his bare hands and quickly threw it to the ground. The predator took cover in a nearby bush but was flushed out by Bob and I. It made a break for it, slithering around the back of the house but I cornered it and made two quick strikes with the shovel, mortally wounding him two inches below the head, saving our beloved Cardinals from a sure fatal encounter. We had seen this fella in the last few weeks, making his way across our grass and our dock. He is now resting comfortably on the floor of our canal, awaiting a new kind of dinner.
I went to the nest and verified all three of our precious newborns were safe and sound. Minutes later, mother and father were back feeding their young. If karma means anything, the Arizona Cardinals should be back in South Florida for Superbowl 44 in Miami and we should find our way back to the big game for having saved the franchise. . . or at least a few future mascots.

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