Cheer, cheer, cheer for Stumpy

I like watching our back yard birds. From my office, I can’t look out the window into the yard without getting up from my desk. This is a good thing — if I could look out the window without standing up, I probably wouldn’t get any work done at all. Anyway, I keep a notepad by the window and on many days I keep a count of the birds I see visiting the yard. This count usually includes at least one Northern Cardinal.

On December 25th we had a new yard bird, a female Painted Bunting, which was a wonderful Christmas gift for me. We have seen her a handful of times since, but in the days following Christmas I kept a closer eye on the feeders than usual.

On December 26th I noticed an injured female Northern Cardinal at our feeders. She had a dangly, badly broken leg. I saw her again on December 30th, then again on January 4th, and January 6th. Then on January 8th she came in to a feeder with just a stump where her dangling leg used to be. I began to refer to her as “Stumpy.”


Now I see her just about every other day. I put safflower seed and sunflower seed (cardinal favorites) out in a variety of different feeder types so she could use the ones she could perch on most comfortably. When I first saw her, she was very clumsy, fluttering her wings often as she fed, to keep her balance. Now she is using all types of perches like a champ, and takes seed from several different feeders with relative ease.


Stumpy is mostly in the company of a male cardinal. I am so happy every time I see her. There is at least one other pair of cardinals that comes in each day so I always look carefully at each female cardinal to see if it is Stumpy. My most recent sighting was this afternoon. 🙂

Stumpy's companion
Stumpy’s companion

We are starting to hear cardinals singing their spring songs. Pretty, pretty, pretty and cheer, cheer cheer. Both male and female cardinals sing. Maybe I will be lucky enough to see Stumpy and her mate courting in the coming weeks.

Share the birds, share the love!
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