He once had a mate. They had built a nest together, but their eggs were lifeless as stones.
Now the red male sat on the fence surrounding the koi pond and he sang his four-note song over and over again. But he sang alone.
One morning he noticed the fish swimming in the pond. Their puckering, hungry mouths stirred something in him. He had shared berries with his petite beige mate. He would have fed his chicks.
He hopped cautiously towards the water. As a fish swam up close, the cardinal knelt towards it and dropped seed into a waiting mouth.