I spent all day yesterday trimming the holly bushes that ring the front of the house. It's not my favorite job but it's one that has to be done regularly if I don't want shrubs up to the eaves. Actually, I don't mind the trimming nearly as much as the cleaning up; I just can't figure out how to do one without the other.
It turned out to be a good day for bush-trimming. A decent breeze, no afternoon thunderstorms (a rarity of late) and with a little strategic planning, I could do most of the trimming in the shade, even if it was courtesy of the eaves part of the time. With Wayne off on a weekend caching trip, I could commune with nature while I whittled the holly bushes down to some reasonable size.
Part of that nature was a pair of cardinals who kept a close eye on me as I went about my bush-whacking. I've thought for a while they must have a nest nearby as I've seen then a lot this spring but I guessed it was in the azalea bushes in the center of the front yard. That was, after all, generally where I had seen them in the past. And I wasn't too concerned because while I was moving around in the front yard, I wasn't getting too close to those azaleas.
Then I started paying attention to their path as they flew around and about, especially when I'd come back to the front yard after going into the house for yet another bottle of water. While I'd see them on the roof or perched on a low-hanging limb of the oak tree out front, they came and went to those locations from one of the camellia bushes in the corner just a few feet from the front door. And if I stopped and stayed still for a while, I could hear the little cheeps whenever they'd fly into that bush.
We have babies! Well, apparently anyway; I figured me spending the day running the noisy hedge trimmer for hours just yards from their nest was enough disruption. They didn't need me poking through the bush trying to get a photo of the new little family.
It was clear Momma and Daddy were feeding a hungry young brood as the cheeping was noticeably louder when they flew into the bush. If I were guessing, I'd say there were two little ones. The peeps were louder than I'd expect for one but not the cacophony you'd expect from three or more. My comings and goings were clearly interferring with lunch hour. I tried reassuring Mr. and Mrs. Redbird I wasn't a threat but I don't speak Cardinalese. They continued to fly in and out; they just were more cautious in their timing.
Thankfully (for both me and the birds) the holly bushes are all neat and tidy now. It won't last; trimming only seems to encourage them to send out new little shoots just to aggravate me. But by the time that happens, the new red-feathered friends should be out seeking lunch on their own. And those camillia bushes where the nest is located are going to have to wait a few more weeks for their own haircut. Works for me.