The air temperature was above the freezing mark. The snow and ice were melting on the dark parking lot pavement at the forest preserve district operations complex. As I got out of the car at the site of the annual Bluebird Monitor data and protocol review meeting I heard a bird. “What bird is that?,” I thought. It sounded somewhat familiar. It sounded like a cardinal. But then again, it didn’t sound like a cardinal. In this part of the world, our Northern Cardinals don’t generally begin to mark territories with their call until around mid-March. So, it must have been something else. But what? I continued walking across the parking lot and the bird continued to sing out. Then … it became clear …
The first Northern Cardinal call I’ve heard this year!
I looked up.
There he was! Red! Clearly telling the world he did not care if it was still early February.
And so began the 2013 Bluebird Monitor season.