Is this the world’s scariest cardinal or is it possibly the world’s smartest?
I am not afraid of snakes, rats, spiders or any of the other things that a lot of people seem to fear.
I just had a meet-up with a crazy cardinal that was about to change my view of what is normal behavior.
I was out in my backyard during the hottest part of the summer when a young male cardinal flew over from the neighbor’s pool. He took off from their fence like he had somewhere to go. When he got up to about 25 feet off of the ground, he changed direction and headed right for me.
I had never had that happen before. He got within about ten feet of me and landed on the ground. Then he hopped up to within about five feet. He stood there looking up at me. I’m thinking, “What’s wrong with this bird?” It didn’t appear as if he was about to budge.
I walked about 4 or 5 steps and stopped. It was very dry, so when I moved a little puff of dust came out from under my feet. He hopped up to within five feet of me again. My mind is working like crazy now. What is this cardinal up to? We did the same dance step four or five times more. I would move a few feet and he would close the gap again.
I was thinking dumb thoughts like, “Do birds get rabies?” Does this have something to do with the Avian flu? I had heard of large birds like Jays and Crows being found dead in our neighborhood. We were supposed to call someone and report it when we saw big dead birds.
Out of curiosity; possibly some fear involved, I dashed around the back corner of the garage. That bird was still following me. Now I’m beginning to feel like I’m prey or something. Just about that time I saw him nab a large grasshopper that I had kicked up. Whew! I could understand that kind of behavior.
Sheepishly, I realized that the cardinal had been using me as a tool to kick up bugs for him to eat. I now have a new candidate for the most intelligent species list.