To the editor:
When I moved to the corner of Lothrop and Abbott streets in Beverly about 25 years ago, a pair of cardinals enlivened the intersection by singing from the tops of the tallest trees nearby. They were here all year and sang especially loudly in the spring.
I don’t think the male needed to court the female every spring because I think they were committed to each other already, but something made them sing to each other anyway. For all the rest of this quarter century I have enjoyed hearing them call to each other from the tops of the tallest trees at the intersection, and I have loved their burst of red color during the winter. (Maybe I have been watching a series of pairs. I am not skilled enough to know one cardinal from another.)
On a recent morning I saw the female’s body dead at the edge of the road. This evening I saw and heard the male calling from the tallest tree in my yard. Other cardinals called back from blocks away. Maybe they called sympathy messages. Maybe they were females calling to join the newly widowed male. Maybe they were other males calling to say stay away from my woman.
Thank you, cardinals.