I saw a male cardinal feeding his wife a piece of suet that he found this morning for breakfast. And I saw a common grackle taking a piece of suet to the bird bath and eating it with water. He thought, “I don’t know what this junk is, but it is likely to get stuck in my throat and kill me if I don’t wash it down with water.”
The male cardinal wins for ‘best husband’ and the common grackle wins for ‘smartest bird I saw this morning’.
There were three of them; a couple and I don’t-know-who.
They were very trusting; they stayed only about seven feet in front of us, telling me that the only thing that people were throwing at them was bread. Life at the pond in St. John’s Conservation Area was good.
Then they, one by one, started to luxuriously lean their long necks back and stroke them on their feathers. Then they started to meticulously preen themselves. Then they stood up on one leg and stretched the other webbed-foot leg way back; then they wiggled their bums and sat down. Canada goose yoga.
The starlings are skittish and neurotic, acting like they are part of The Three Stooges; while the common grackle lands far away from the suet and seed, and confidently saunters over like he is inspecting the place and giving it a once over.
Being human, it is so hard not to judge the behaviour of the birds.
When the male cardinal feeds his wife, it is beautiful and touching. And when the cowbird spends half an hour in the feeder on the window because she has nothing better to do because another bird is raising her young, she is selfish and despicable.