If you have never had the experience of watching fledgling cardinals mature, let me just tell you - it is probably the least attractive part of a cardinals life cycle. They start out a sort of grayish-brownish color with peeks of reddish feathers peeking through. But then they start molting. As they begin losing the dull feathers and becoming more red, they start looking a little rough. Which taught me that even cardinals have an awkward puberty stage of life.
We have seen about 4 or 5 of these youngsters hanging around the back porch gorging themselves (because apparently teenage male cardinals also have bottomless appetites, just like their human counterparts). All in varying stages of molt. While being chaperoned by Mr and Mrs C.
Last week my own offspring and the grandbaby were doing g a little birdwatching out he kitchen window. Discussing the cardinal family and which appeared to be male or female,which seemed to be a little older, etc.
And that's when I heard: "That one must be the mama, because she's really fat" Um... say what, now?? Why is the mama bird the fat one?
And that's the day cardinal watching made me feel bad about myself.
Not really. It was pretty funny actually. But, it did give me pause for a moment.