I was out there to meet the Queen. I’d been trying to get an audience with her for several weeks. But she’s a Royal and follows her own rules. I’m used to that.
You see, almost every day I’d see, on Facebook, a photographer who calls herself the “Hand of Snacks” feeding a female cardinal along the boardwalk at my favorite park.
Lots of birds come down to any number of hands filled with snacks at this park, but cardinals are famously shy. Quite stand-offish. So to see this female sitting in a hand regularly intrigued me. And I drove the 30+ minutes every week or so, hoping to get to meet her Majesty for myself. Oh, I’d see her – sitting in the scrub along the boardwalk. I’d offer a treat. She’d watch me. But she never showed any interest in getting to know me better. Week after week I’d leave disappointed.
This Wednesday, there she was, sitting among the twigs of a dogwood bush with her partner, the bright red Mr. Cardinal. And that morning she seemed interested in me. She moved out to the end of the branch and eyed me up and down. I stood still, gifts offered. She flew to the railing, quite a far bit away from me and eyed me some more.
Clearly I was not her Hand of Snacks. I was an imposter. But she was hungry. But I was an imposter. Could she trust me? Would she trust me? She hopped along the railing to get a closer look. She looked up at me and then down at the snacks in my hand. I stood still, barely breathing.
And then she reached out, her feet still firmly planted on the railing, she wasn’t going to actually stand on my hand, and grabbed an oiler seed, moving rapidly away from me to eat it. I stood still.
She hopped over again and helped herself to another treat, not moving so far away this time…and then she grabbed a peanut and with a slight nod to me, she flew back into the bushes to share it with her partner.
And the politely waiting chickadee hopped up onto my hand to see what she had left behind.
Now I can say I’ve met the Queen. And it was everything I knew it would be.