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Cardinal fledglings

There is a family of cardinals in a wegeila shrub next to my kitchen window, 3 or 4 babies, a week old. The father and mother feed them, the father seems to be carrying away a white circular pod of some sort, that appears to be regurgitated from the babies mouths....curious about what this is....also, they are going to fly soon and when it was raining hard 3 days ago, I clipped a plastic bag above the nest which settled nicely into place about 7 inches above the nest protecting mom and babies from the rain....should I take this off in preparation for flight or do the babies sort of crawl out first? I also put some pillows on the ground under the nest to help if they fall. Oh other than that I leave them alone to do their thing. Mom's beak is orange and Dad is red, so I'm pretty sure they are cardinals.

Birding Expert - George H. Harrison

First, the white sac that the parents are removing from the nest is a fecal sac, which is nature's way of keeping the nest tidy. The baby birds excrete their waste in this sac so that the parents can remove it cleanly. Second, you should do nothing to aid the birds in their efforts to raise and fledge their babies. Not only is it unnecessary, but it is also illegal to disturb wild birds in any way and may be harmful (the plastic cover could draw attention to the nest by predators). Be assured that the youngster do not need protected from the rain (the parents will do this) nor do they need a pillow to land on when they fledge. They will probably fly out of the nest and crash land many yards away in a shrub or in brush. This is normal. The parents will know exactly where they are, and will feed them. Please do not try to aid this process in any way. They should be fine, though in nature, there are always predators to be fed, and not all the youngster will survive. This, too, is nature's way, and it is normal.

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