Cold, Icy and… Birdy?

December 5th, 2008

I’ve never seen the pond frozen this early in December before.  January and February are the coldest months for us, but waking up to about 16 degrees this morning was downright chilly.  The jet stream is so far south that we’re getting a good bit of that Canadian air this month.  There’s a reason I don’t live in Canada in the winter… I can only imagine how much colder it is up there!

Ice on the pond in December

So there I am, after the morning routine and getting the boy off to school, finally sitting down with a cup of coffee.  My reverie was short-lived, nearly spilling the coffee all over myself after a loud “Whump!” on the window behind me.  I looked out to see a dazed female Cardinal sitting below the window, her head slowly nodding with eyes closed.   I hoped she was not permanently injured, but I also knew she would either die by a) freezing to death after going into shock from the impact in such cold weather, or b) become breakfast for our wandering cat Princess.

So out I go, picking her up and taking her to the porch which was a little warmer at 40 degrees.  I set her down in the sunshine and left her alone for an hour, head still nodding with eyes closed.  But it’s the season for miracles and when I came back later she was alert and eyeing me suspiciously. 

 Female Cardinal

I figured she’d be okay then but went to pick her up and make sure… Zoom!  around the room she goes.  She wasn’t quite ready to acquiesce to such human manhandling.  But after a few flutterings at the window and much pecking at me with that orange beak I finally had her, and took her out to the bird feeder where she promptly flew off to a nearby tree.   I imagine she’ll have a sore neck for a few days, but hopefully she’ll make it.

It’s a too common theme at this time of year with birds flying into windows.  There was another Cardinal in the House one time, but it was a he, near-death, and after spending a night with us, he surprised me by his resilience.  I was even more surprised writing about Nuthatch Nuttiness…  somehow the outdoor world, birds and flying has always been part of my life.  I even worked at the World Bird Sanctuary for a time in my youth, helping to rehabilitate raptors. But that’s another story.

5 Responses to “Cold, Icy and… Birdy?”

  1. Thanx for rescuing that cardinal. Every one counts.

  2. Having spent 20+ years in Minnesota – way too close to Canada – I’m mighty glad for the winters down here. It was a bit chilly this morning though!

    Cardinals sure are nifty birds… we saw a bunch chasing each other about a week ago. I guess they migrate at this time of year? I need to learn more about the birds that pass through here one of these days.

    Nice save!


  3. Thanks Pablo!

    Ron- Minnesota? Must seem quite balmy in comparison! I’m not too sure about migration, maybe they do? But we also have a lot of resident Cardinals in Missouri.

  4. Having lived in Minnesota myself, I’m quite grateful for Iowa winters! Having to break my tires free from being frozen to the parking lot just to go home at night and it being so cold that my teeth would ache just walking from the car to the door is not something I would wish upon anyone.

    We had a cardinal once that had it in for my car mirrors for some reason. I ended up putting bags over it at night just to prevent the buildup of bird crap all over the side of my car.

  5. Whoa… that’s cold. I love snow and winter- but do appreciate how “temperate” it is here in Missouri comparatively. Great story about the cardinal- bird doo is bird doo… no matter where it comes from!

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