One of the many signs of spring — song and displays by male birds to attract their female partners. There was plenty of that going on in Louisiana when we visited the Audubon (New Orleans) Zoo.
But here in the Northland where there is still feet (not inches) of snow to melt before spring, the first sign of spring has to be the piercing trills of the Northern Cardinals, singing lustily away at the tops of trees.
A local cardinal couple visited my feeder this morning for a few minutes. It may have been the same pair singing up a storm in the neighbor’s yard earlier. Cardinals are one of the few small birds that mate for life, and although the pair bond gets somewhat loose in winter as they go their sometimes separate ways, the male is definitely following his female around in the backyard quite closely right now.
Cardinals engage in “mate feeding”, in which the male brings food to the female prior to the nesting period, I guess to prove that he will be a good provider when she is incubating and brooding the chicks. But today, the female helped herself to seed from the feeder.