Cardinals are beautiful birds, welcome at my feeders in any season. I prefer to see them in the warm months, especially the pair who call our farm home. In the spring they busily gather material to build their nest. The female is very territorial. One year she saw her refection in the side view mirror of our car and spent much time attacking it before I turned the mirror in so she was no longer threatened by the other female. The male fills the area with his calls all through the warm part of the year.
Seeing these birds in winter at the feeder is ominous. For the past few years, they have become permanent residents. The pair visit for their share of safflower seeds every winter day and I believe there is also a single male that comes around. Growing up here in northern central Maine, I never saw cardinals in the snow. They did not overwinter so far north. It was too cold. All that has changed. With our lowest temperature last winter only about 15 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, this part of Maine has warmed considerably since my youth. I remember nights of 30 below or less. These bitter temperatures have not occurred for us in several decades.
The wondrous governor of our state, Paul LePage, that caricature of the faux pas, whose habitual stance is with foot in mouth, has recently stated that global warming is good for Maine. It has opened a northern shipping passage around the Arctic Circle that will allow many more ships to use our ports, thus enriching our coffers. With global warming comes a rise in sea level. How does this mental giant leading our state think Maine will succeed once our major ports are flooded by a foot or more of sea water? Or the countryside inundated for miles inland as the river water levels are forced higher by a rising sea?
I pity the next generations, for we do so little to stop the oncoming disaster while we still have time. They will not thank us for our failures just as we are not grateful to our forebears for polluting the environment with chemicals. The clean up costs for the lack of foresight fall to us as surely as the consequences of a rising sea level will overwhelm our children.