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Northern Michigan in Focus: The Cardinal Lady

Sometimes, people have the opportunity to get up close to nature, and when it happens, it’s pretty special.

A woman who lives near Newaygo got a close encounter with a bird a couple weeks ago that would usually fly away.

Wendy Johnson’s yard is a bird watcher’s paradise, with chickadees, woodpeckers, tufted titmouse’s and blue jays, but the bird that was on a perch on Jan. 2 and Jan. 3 amazed her.

“You hear the wind chimes and the birds and they’re all just singing together and it’s a relaxing calm cool thing,” Johnson said. “On this little feeder over here I saw a little cardinal that I thought was stuck to the perch of the feeder because we had freezing rain that night before. He had just been sitting there and sitting there and I’d figure I go out and help him out and un-stick him but he wasn’t stuck.”

Most people who feed birds know that cardinals fly away at the first sign of danger, but not this little guy.

“He climbed on my finger and I was kind of star struck,” Johnson said.

Johnson didn’t have her camera to prove what had happened, so she put the cardinal back on the perch and came out with her roommates.

“I wanted a picture for myself and I was hoping that he let me hold them again,” she said. “I walked across the yard with him. He let my roommate and his daughter hold them. So I was just in awe.”

Johnson posted pictures on her Facebook, and still some people didn’t believe her. Luckily the cardinal came back the next day to the exact same perch.

“I came out to take a video on the second day,” she said. “I came back out and I took a video of of me getting them off the perch and putting them on my finger just so people would understand this is real, it’s not a fake bird, we didn’t put a little fake Cardinal on my finger because people had asked.

“I said everybody says it’s a once in a lifetime thing. I don’t know, everybody’s asked how did you get him to do that, and I say I don’t know. All I was trying to do is help him off the perch I thought he was frozen to it. So, it turned out he wasn’t frozen to it and was my buddy for a couple days.”

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