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(JUNE 29, 2010) Beautiful male cardinals glisten in the morning sun. However, upon closer look, one seems to be wearing a mask and is a bit mussed up while the other looks right prim and proper in its cardinal red feathers.
One is likely a juvenile male, molting into a beautiful adult male that will be the handsome male to attract the female during mating season. But right now, the cardinal looks a bit like it has had a rough night and needs to sleep it off, yet it was singing pleasantly as we passed by this morning on the Riverwalk.
In the parking lot we saw a couple of brown-headed cowbirds. I took some pictures, but at 6:15 the lighting was not the best and the shots came out blurred. We also saw a heron fishing near the dam as several Canada geese floated by and an osprey settling into its nest above the Brantley Steam Plant. There were a handful of new yellow goslings near the train bridge being supervised by family and extended family. And, the flowers were blooming, the bees were buzzing, the damselflies were lighting gently on the leaves, and Sadie and I were enjoying the coolness before the heat of the day came upon us.
But, the most interesting sight was the molting cardinal. There are already signs of the green headed mallard molting as I saw a sad male walking about not knowing that his green head had turned a blackish color. I think that we, as humans, "molt" in our own way. When wooing a mate, we often put forth our best attractions, but once the mate is wooed, we seem to care less about our physical manner or, for that matter, hygiene. The Scottish poet, Robert Burns, in his poem "To a Louse: On seeing one on a lady's bonnet at church," provides a humbling thought when he wrote:
"O would some Power the gift to give us
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us,
And foolish notion:
What airs in dress and gait would leave us,
And even devotion!"
Did the molting cardinal not know that he was disheveled and rough looking? Perhaps not as he sat on the tree and sang a lovely song while not being able to see himself as other saw him. He, really, isn't that bad looking, but with time will be marvelous.
It was another good day on the Riverwalk.
Working at Dancing Creek Farm
2 years ago