It's getting to be late March, and the cardinals are returning to the bird feeder. I couple of them hang around for the winter, but there are more pairs of them when the weather gets warmer, for a reason I don't know.
Anyway, my thoughts returned to last spring, when one particular cardinal visited our aviary buffet.
We named him Forrest Gump, which might have been unfair to the original character in the great namesake book and movie. Although not being too bright, he still made the best of his abilities, and demonstrated time and again the importance of being in the right place at the right time.
Our feathered friend Forrest must have been afflicted somehow which affected his behavior, and appearance. Healthy cardinals have majestic comb feathers, Forrest had two tiny ones, which made him look more like the indians we used to imitate as kids playing cowboys and. The rest of his head and neck were bald otherwise, perhaps the result of a mite or vermin.
The other thing about Forrest was his odd behavior. He kept pecking at the window in the family room for days after he arrived. He could be observed nose to nose on the other side of the glass, and he wouldn't budge. I remembered my grandfather imagined seeing a cardinal from his deathbed, and began wondering if I wasn't long for this world.
I called several phone numbers of various bird rescue organizations before I got a live person for ways to prevent his pecking at the window. The answer was to put a sheet of plastic in front of the panes, so Forrest couldn't see his reflection, thinking he was another bird, competing for food. It worked.
Forrest managed to make it through the summer, and he was gone in the fall, before we realized it.
Although not thinking too clearly, like his name sake, he did manage to be at the right place, and I'd like to think we helped him make it through the season, though he wouldn't have otherwise.