Taking Care of the Kid

In late spring, I traveled to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, to photograph birds. One of the common birds there was the Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis). While waiting for bird activity near a waterhole, an adult male Cardinal came in to get a drink. Within a few moments, a juvenile Cardinal flew in and landed in a nearby shrub:

Young Northern Cardinal


It then flew down, in close proximity to the adult, where it began “begging” to be fed:

Male Northern Cardinal feeding young Cardinal


The adult Cardinal foraged a bit and brought a seed back to the youngster:

Male Northern Cardinal feeding young Cardinal


The male then placed the seed in the youngster’s mouth:

Male Northern Cardinal feeding young Cardinal


This scenario played out for a full 5 minutes, before the 2 birds flew off. Watching the behavior of young and parent birds can be very entertaining, as well as educational. Especially fun is to watch the youngsters as they rapidly flutter their wings, with mouths agape, and often “fussing” at the adults to bring them food … ya gotta love it!

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