Meet my friend, the pushy cardinal of Prospect Park

cardinal friend eating

I am now officially friends with at least three cardinals in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. It started out with me just kind of stalking them. I knew where they lived. I’d hang out. I’d bring raw, unsalted sunflower seeds.

But in the last month our relationship has advanced. They know me. And they come when I whistle to see me (and my sunflowers).

What’s more impressive on their part is that I’m whistling the wrong tune. I started just imitating whatever I heard at the moment. “That’s pretty good,” a more advanced birder told me. “White-throated sparrow.” Well, not so good, I told him. I thought it was the cardinal. But the cardinals put up with me. Oh, here comes that lady who does a bad impression of a white-throated sparrow, they must think.

So my main friend is a male with a disjointed feather on his left wing who lives on one side of a path in the ravine. It is spooky how quickly he will appear sometimes. In the last week he has shown up twice slightly outside his territory. He makes himself known, chipping and hopping, until I offer some sunflowers.

For a few weeks he was feeding his mate–part of their courtship. Then she disappeared, presumably for nest duties. She showed up again one day last week and at on her own–showing she was independent and/or really hungry, I guess.

Oddly, he is very reliable at showing up when I’m with my husband. He just eerily appears staring at us. But, with my friend Stacey, who has a dog, it’s like I have a Snuffleupagus friend that I’m always bragging about.




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