No, not the kind that pulls on hiking boots, puts a pith helmet on my head, and strolls through the woods. Or, sitting on a suitable rock, bird book and binoculars at the ready to quickly identify what feathered wonder should cross my path.
I am an easy-chair explorer. I pour coffee or tea. I settle myself into my upholstered easy-chair in the sitting room and look out on my large wooded back yard through double French-doors accessing the screened porch.
Just outside the porch is a garden hook used for hanging plants, but also perfect for hanging a four-sided bird feeder. From this vantage point, I can see the more significant feathered friends, like two big Muscovy ducks a neighbor transplanted some years ago and the sweet little Mallards who all come to my backdoor for corn and introduce me to their tiny yellow babies every Spring.
I grew up in the Midwest. Robins, Wrens, Cardinals. Starlings and Crows were the most prevalent. Then 22 years in the Rockies where I could enjoy Red-Tailed Hawks, Red-Winged Blackbirds, and an occasional Bluebird.
Now in the Near South, I’ve been introduced to a plethora of feathered friends. The Bald Eagles roost in trees surrounding the lake, and Hummingbirds flock to the sweet syrup hanging in little decanters from porches and trees. I hadn’t seen Cardinals in many years, and among all the free-flying options, they are my favorite.
The males and females easily to recognize due to the differences in their coloring. They co-exist quite nicely, and it seems that they have mated for years. The male is quick to protect the female. They both take care and show concern over the newly hatched arrivals.
I have not seriously studied the habits of Cardinals, but they provide exciting observance opportunities. They certainly add color to even a cloudy day.
I’ve never been a “collector,” but for several years, when I found a Cardinal in a gift shop, it seemed impossible not to take it home. I have a glass Cardinal, and a wooden Cardinal, and a metal Cardinal all gathered together on an end table. Anybody who knows me understands my modest collection.
My niece, who lives around the corner, loves to shop and finds the most exciting bargains wherever she goes. She outdid herself this Christmas when she brought a new and very unique Cardinal to join my collection and my family. He, I know that by his coloring, is at least ten inches high, inflated, and plump and has a bit of attitude by his mere presence. Someone very talented with paper-mache created him.
He made a delightful centerpiece for our Holiday Table and, although he still doesn’t have an appropriate name, he will always have an important place in the cottage and in my heart.
– Isobel from Hot Springs, Arkansas, a FAR customer who is finding purpose in this new stage of her life.
* The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the Finance of America Reverse (LLC).