A cardinal sits on the branch of a birch tree and fluffs up his feathers against a winter wind. One of my favorite outside birds, the cardinal sings lovely songs and adds a touch of color to the winter landscape. Cardinals are fascinating to watch at the bird feeder. Despite their delicate voices and lovely appearance, they can be aggressive and in the spring when they are raising young, they are fiercely protective. We realized just how fierce they could be last winter. It was long before any birds were even thinking about starting a family when a male cardinal began hovering around the porch, dive bombing whoever came to the door. Evening visitors began to feel unwelcome, and coming home seemed downright dangerous to us. Eventually we realized that the target was not us, but the wreath hanging on our door. We had left it up after Christmas, thinking it was more of a winter than a holiday wreath. Two small red birds adorned the greenery and, though they did not look real to us, they fooled the cardinal, at least when the porch light was on. He did his best to drive them away from his territory. The wreath was taken down immediately, though we hang it again this year. As of this writing, it has not yet been attacked.
Jack Sparrow Goes AWOL
Speaking of birds, we have several inside the house also. Last week during an ice storm, Jack Sparrow, one of our cockatiel birds decided he had enough of his cage and walked out. He is a very clever bird and breaks out occasionally, but he really loves his home and his wife, Canola, so he never ventures very far. Usually we find him hanging on his cage and screaming to get back in, because it is much easier to break out than to break back in. On this day we found him among the houseplants, staring out the iced window as if to ask, "What happened to my beautiful view?" He always makes us chase him a little - it is a fun game - until he decides it is time to go home. Then he just stands still and lets someone catch him. If he is home, Larry does the catching.
Cardinal in Winter is an 8 x 10 acrylic on stretched, wrapped canvas. It has been listed on Art Helping Animals and Daily Painters. It will also be on Chisholm Trail Art.