Downpour. An ant abandons its dead caterpillar. An earthworm dangles from a cardinal’s bill.
The brassy singers of open spaces take it in turns: robin, cardinal, towhee. But I am ready for shade and the whispery songs of warblers.
Dawn. A phoebe and a cardinal are singing in the rain. At the woods’ edge, the last patch of snow has shrunk to the size of a hubcap.
Cardinal song from the woods’ edge, but where’s the cardinal? Leaving the porch, I spot him—in a yard tree. I’d been listening to the echo.
The snowstorm over, it’s quiet, except for the wind. A cardinal shelters in a barberry bush, as red as the berries had been.
Seven cardinals—three pairs and a lone male—take turns drinking from the stream, then perch in the lilac’s bare branches, four feet apart.
Cloudy and cold. A cardinal perched in the lilac sings softly, barely opening his beak. The sound of a freight train laboring up the valley.
Overcast and cold. Juncos hop down the snowy streambanks for a drink. A female cardinal flies past—the extra red in her open wings.
Heavy cloud cover. A flash of red from a male cardinal cutting through the yard. Gray heads of goldenrod almost shine in the gloom.
Two faded contrails in an otherwise clear sky. A cardinal sings his spring song, which bears a very strong resemblance to his winter song.