A Cardinal Is Just A Cardinal

I have written in the past that Facebook is a goldmine of topics to blog about.  And sometimes a blog can be a good venue to vent about things you see on Facebook that you are reluctant to rant about on Facebook itself out of consideration for the feelings of friends or family members.

One thing I have been seeing a lot of lately on my Facebook feed is friends who have lost loved ones in recent years writing posts about seeing cardinals in their yards, which they interpret as the spirit of their loved ones coming to visit them.  I just finished reading one friend's post just a moment ago, as well as the comments that followed, many from people making the same claim.

So I did a quick Google search and found a vast body of Internet literature about cardinals being used as vessels for the spirits of the dead to visit their loved ones still living.  Here is a link to one such article.

I live on Long Island, as well as most of the people I see on Facebook making their cardinal claims, and I can attest that cardinals are rather common birds here.  There is absolutely nothing remarkable about seeing them.  I even did a blog post about them nearly eleven years ago. 

The idea that cardinals, or any other animal for that matter, are vessels (at least temporarily) for spirits of the deceased is just another form of what I call human egocentrism.  It denies that cardinals live their lives for their own purposes and presumes that whenever one of them seems to act in a way that is different from what we think they should (especially if one does not study bird behavior) that the default position should be that it must be one's deceased parent, spouse, sibling, etc. coming to visit them and to check up on them. 

Of course, I could post this on Facebook, but I can just imagine the anticipated reaction that I am being insensitive to the feelings of people who lament the loss of a loved one and find comfort in the thought that the dearly departed visit them from time to time in the form of a little red bird.  I guess I am just too nice for that.  :-)

A Cardinal Is Just A Cardinal