I first photographed this bird back in May. When I looked at the photos I noticed just how disheveled he was. His neck feathers were sparse and he looked a little sickly. He looks a bit worse now.
But it's July and he is still seen regularly in my yard and is active and full of life. He drinks from the birdbath and I throw him seeds from time to time. He returns day after day and just blends in with the life and rhythm of things. He sings beautifully as he sits on the roof or the bush outside my bedroom window.
Tonight I heard his familiar song and stopped what I was doing to look outside. I followed the sound and saw him near the ground under the same bush... but he wasn't alone... he was feeding and seemingly caring for his spouse. He was definitely schmoozing up to a female cardinal. Although he looks as though he has had a rough life, he seems to be fairing just fine for now. He may be old. I read they live about 15 years! He's not a perfect specimen of cardinal, but I like so much that he hangs around. He seems very happy to have this yard as his home. And I like to keep fresh water around....
Legend implies that when a cardinal is seen it's a visitor from heaven. A reminder that you are loved. This one seems especially strong and worldly and wise. Like he's been around the block a few times. And he knows things. That's what I choose to believe anyway.