Cardinals Appear When Angels Are Near


The Cardinal:

a magnificent bird with a life span of up to 15 years. Said to symbolize hope,  joy,  health, rejuvenation and celebration.  Especially to the ones who look beyond in search of their meaning.  For those who choose to hold the Cardinal dear – you are a special type of person – rare, energetic, and always willing to care for those in need.  

Maureen Heyburn wearing her heart.

    When Maureen Heyburn moved from Washington Heights, NY to New Jersey, it was like moving to the country.  Through the kitchen window, she would spend her time getting lost in the nature around her.  Not a single creature passed her sight unnoticed or unappreciated.  She was full of excitement over every one of them, but she always talked about a little red bird in particular and how beautiful she found it to be.   The excitement she had when she saw the little red bird would lead to her calling the entire family over to the window.  Everyone would come running and every time, the little red bird was nowhere to be seen.  This completely drove her family insane and to the point of mad laughter.  A long-standing joke was born — if anyone ever did see the little red bird they were going to be sure to put an end to all the madness!  Time came and went, yet Maureen still, was the only one to ever see her little red bird.

     Sadly, Maureen passed away from cancer on February 10, 1999.  During the morning after her passing, the whole family was brought together.  While sitting in the kitchen looking out the window a little red bird could be seen.  Family from all over the house were called to the window — all eleven of them — her 5 kids, 5 grandchildren, and son-in-law, came running in.  The little red bird sat at the window that day long enough for each and every one of them to finally see it.  Gleaming with excitement, her grandkids exclaimed: “Look! It’s Nanny!!!”.  The whole family became hysterical over the fact that there really was a little red bird, which was then appropriately named — “Nanny”.

     For 15 years the little red bird has seen their family through a lifetime.  It has managed to become a token of love and a symbol of hope, through times of good and times of bad.  Whatever is occurring in their lives, at any given moment, they are comforted by the thought of looking up and catching a glimpse of the little red bird.  At the time of its return —  “Look! It’s Nanny!” —  will often be heard.

Maureen Heyburn and her family in one of their last photos taken together.

       Maureen Heyburn had a gift of being able to make anyone feel loved and without a single word needing to be said.  It was in the way she listened, that she was able to express how deeply she cared.  To her family she was their heart and soul, and the glue that helped hold them all together.  One of the more beautiful attributes of her story, is that Maureen, wore a cross and heart pendant around her neck on a gold chain for most of her adult life.  When she passed on, her family gave her nieces little gold hearts to wear around their necks so she would always be close by, they called them “Aunt Maureen’s Heart”.  Maureen’s heart was given for her after her death in such a beautiful way, but Maureen, gifted her own heart in a very profound way long before then —  it was in the way of a little red bird. 


May you come to find comfort in and remember cardinals appear when angels are near.

So go now, sit outside and drink your tea.

Keep a look out for the little red bird — It is there, your loved one will be.

–Victoria McGovern

It is with great honor we celebrate life.  In what heartfelt way do you remember your loved ones? Please share your stories with us. 

Come say hi and wander along with us on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook

You may also like one of our more recent posts:

Dreaming Awake

Remnants of Life Gone By

 © 2014 – 2016 Victoria McGovern — All rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.


273 thoughts on “Cardinals Appear When Angels Are Near

  1. This is so beautiful. Today 1/17/17 I was thinking about my grandmother Hazel who passed away on 6/8/16. Her last words to me was I love you. Then about 5 minutes later a beautiful red bird appeared outside my daughter’s window. Just looking at me and my daughter. Thanks grandma. I was able to take some pictures.


  2. Every time my son sees a Cardinal he says, “Look dad!! Uncle Mike is here!! He’s making sure we’re ok and letting us know he loves us and he is ok.” My Uncle Mike was among my very best friends. We got together at least once a week for years and years. If I had an extra Sabres ticket he was the first person I would call to go with me and My wife and I were often joined by my aunt and uncle for hockey games, dinner, drinks concerts and especially happy hour. Despite being 13 years my senior we always had a great relationship. If he was in a jam and needed advice he would call me and I would so the same. He and I would make each other laugh so much that we would both be doubled over in pain and still laughing. Many a night passed that I woke up from the next morning and felt like I turned 8 minute abs into 16 minutes abs and could barely move. When I got married, Uncle Mike was one of my groomsmen. He would also become Godfather to my second son, Luke, the one who sees Cardinals everywhere now. I was given the honor of delivering the eulogy for him at the end of his funeral mass. I miss him every single day these past 2 years he has been gone. I can honestly say that the sight of what has always been my favorite bird (and baseball team) has truly been a comfort and a source of happiness for both me and for Luke.


  3. On Dec. 6th of 2016, my 97 yr. old mother passed very peacefully while in Hospice. She had become unresponsive, so I quickly made the 4-1/2 hr. trip to say goodbye. The nurses told me her time was near and I had time to talk to her, as the hearing is the last of the senses to go and that she would hear me. 15 minutes later, she passed. The nurse told me that she had been waiting for me to give her permission to go. I like to believe that’s true. That night I decided to go to her house (my childhood home) and stay there until after the funeral. I knew she wanted me her beloved home and I needed to feel her spirit. The next morning I came downstairs to make coffee and as I turned on the kitchen light, I saw a flash of red at the window. It was a cardinal sitting inches away in a bush looking at me. A strange feeling came over me, and I felt a weakness in my arms and face as if something had control of me. I knew it was mom. It sat there all day and returned the next. I grabbed my camera and got a wonderful picture of the bird looking in the window. It’s now my screensaver. Mom was a bird lover and watched them all day long thru her dining room window. My husband built her a beautiful bird feeder that she adored. When it came time for an estate sale, I made another trip to the house. The cardinal returned and sat by the window. As I pulled out of the driveway for the last time, It was peering around the corner of the house as if to say goodbye. Since then, I am a true believer. My daughter had the same experience the day she passed. A cardinal crashed against her window even tho she had no idea mom was about to pass that evening. I had never heard the legend of the Cardinal until I started telling my story.


  4. The morning my father died unexpectedly. I saw a beautiful red cardinal as I was leaving for work. 40 minutes later I had the worst phone call of my life. He died 8-12-16 yesterday on 8-27-16 I saw a cardinal in the back yard as I was doing things in the back yard for my mom. That was the first time I had seen a cardinal since that morning. I kind of freaked for a minute. Then realized that my dad was probably just showing up telling me he saw what I was doing.


  5. A month after my boyfriend of 11 years passed away, I was moving into my new apartment, The next morning, I heard a Cardinal outside my window singing, It was beautiful to my ears, I looked up outside and said Duane I know you are with me!!!! Every day I hear the Cardinal! !!! It has been now4 months, he is never leaving my side!!!


  6. I remember seeing my first sighting of a red cardinal. It was about one month after my dad had passed. I wanted to know if he was at peace if he was good. I was praying and asking God to show me a sign and it was this beautiful red cardinal. It was around the end of February still very cold it was rather a very cold winter this year 2014 and I walked out my door and there was this tree I heard a bird singing such a beautiful song, it was like it was trying to get my attention. I looked up and it looked right at me and kept on singing with his beautiful self. I knew then it was my dad letting me know he was at peace and that he was happy. Because my dad when he was happy he would sing and dance and I knew it was him. This is my story I look forward to reading all your stories. Thanks


  7. This story gave me goosebumps! When going thru a very hard time in my life feeling all alone in an apartment with my two little boys no money, no food …feeling completely lost, laying on the floor next to a window a red cardinal tapped on the window around 5am. I couldnt beleive my eyes. It was like he wanted something from me..he woke me up everymoring the same time after the sun came up. I woke my oldest son to show him him ..he also thought he was dreaming..he said mom maybe hes hungry! I put some bread outside my window. He never came back when my “husband” came back into my life. The biggest mistake I ever made in my life!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My dad passed away of cancer in February of 2008, he was 52. My babies his only grandchildren were 5 and 6 at the time and he was really close to them, a few days after his passing my mom was watching them while my husband and I took care of some of the arrangements. She called me to tell me that a Cardinal had been at her front porch for nearly an hour, it would tap it’s beak on the window and then fly to the railing. He did that off and on before flying away, she even got it on video. I was so comforted by this. Thanks be to God that He sends these Angels right when we need them.


  9. My parents loved cardinals and watched them in their yard every day. They always talked about their cardinal friends. When dad died, my son and family in Florida couldn’t come here for the service in Illinois, so they had a memorial service in Florida. As my son got into his car after the service, there was a beautiful bright red male cardinal sitting on the hood of his car…just quietly looking at him through the windshield…after a few minutes he flew away.
    It was so intense, my son was soothed and comforted, that the cardinal was an angel giving a message from dad of love and understanding.
    Frequently there cardinals nesting and having their babies in my yard…


  10. I was a caregiver for the sweetest, most loving elderly woman named Beatrice. Always giving hugs and kisses. I started that job towards the end of her life when she was full blown dementia & Alzheimer’s. I may not have knew her when she was “all there”, but of course I grew to love her so very much. Some may not understand how it’s possible to form a bond with someone who can hardly even communicate due to their illnesses, however I cared for her ’til her very last breath, literally…as she passed away on my shift. I knew I had to be strong for the other ladies of the house but when I got home that day I was ready to go inside and just let it all out. I got out of my car and there was a cardinal right in front of my apartment door. I knew it was Bea. She was letting me know she was okay and made it to heaven. She was verbally unable to do so, but I just know that she was thanking me and showing me love for caring for her til the very end. This was only in May, but to this day, every time I see a cardinal I know it’s Bea visiting me. I love you, Bea…I still miss you and think of you often and I will never ever forget you. Rest in peace❤️


    • My dad passed away on 6/22/16 as I was pulling up to my house a red cardinal was sitting on my front lawn. It was my dad saying good bye to as I did not make it to say good bye before he died. I now see cardinals all time and smile as I know he watching out for me.


  11. We buried my aunt yesterday. She was very loved by all but lost her fight with lung cancer. My father, whom she was very close to, passed many years ago. As her illness progressed she told us she was ready to see her brother. This morning my wife went outside to drink her coffee and noticed a male and female cardinal sitting on our fire pit by our deck. I believe they were paying us a visit to let us know they’re together and well


  12. While walking my 3 dogs through our woods the other morning, two beautiful cardinals flew swiftly from behind us and landed in a tree ahead…my grandson, Cory’s 20th birthday had just passed (he went to Heaven 19 years ago) Then I knew for certain who the other cardinal represented…it was my older sister, Carol, who died many years ago before her first birthday…she was taking him to Grandma’s house to visit with her sister. I was so pleased by this visit.


  13. Just after my husband passed awau I had a beautiful Red Cardinal(male) come to rmy sliding glass door and tryto get in at the connectionof the door and try to get in. Not just once but for almost a week. He still comes and walks on a tablenear the door!!


  14. For years after my husband passed away I would see a cardinal in our backyard and always believed it was him letting me know he was still watching over me and the kids


    • Maureen, This is so true! We lost our kids great grandmother 3 years ago and whenever a cardinal appears good things seem to happen. I dont know if there is any correlation but it seems to happen all too often for it to be a coincidence.


  15. This is so true…my Grandma recently passed after a long two year battle of cancer. I was upset on my back porch yesterday crying talking with a friend on my cell phone when I looked up a cardinal was in a tree looking straight at me. I said I need to go to get a picture of this bird. It went from tree to tree and I never got the picture but I was amazed because it was raining pretty hard and that was my Grandmas favorite bird I believe it was a sign from her.


  16. I would go over and stay with MR. Coley on Saturday nights, and on most Sunday mornings while I would be preparing his breakfast he would be sitting at the table looking out the window. Out of all the other birds that would come and feed in the yard it was this one Cardinal that made his face light up when he talked about it or he would ask me, “If I see him?” Since he passed I have only seen a red Cardinal once in my yard and I sat in the driveway watching him. “Hey there, Mr. Coley, my Angel.”


  17. When I was a kid I heard that you should make a wish when t you saw a cardinal. Being a Christian, I don’t believe in wishes, only prayer. I began praising God for my family members every time I saw one. I still do it to this day.


  18. My mom passed away two years ago of pancreatic and lung cancer…. She was the glue of our family…. I’m a police officer and before she died I know God spoke through her and gave specific messages… She told me she would always guide me… Needless to say without her our family has fallin apart, my dad, brother and I no longer speak and my sister and speak a little. I see cardinals everyday, sometimes two together… It’s my mom.. She knows sometimes I struggle but I know in many ways she’s keeping me safe… She’s with me always and makes sure that I see her and know it… She’s showed me other signs as well… People would probably never believe me but as a Catholic God is my faith when I cannot see, my mom is still here when I need her…


    • Your story about your mom passing sounds so much like my own mom’s passing & how it to unglued my family. I have 4 siblings & have no contact with 3 of them now my brother every so often. It breaks my heart especially since now I have moved from our hometown to another state. I will encounter Redbirds when I seem to be missing my mom the most. I passed a road few months ago while driving named Joyce just like my mom. Within 5 seconds passing this road a redbird swooped across my windshield I know this was my mom letting me know she’s still here watching over her baby as always. I just recently decided that lm covering an old out of date tattoo with a redbird & a memorial of mom. My mom also loved redbirds which is another reason for my decision.


  19. Just this past weekend, I was at my cousins house and she was telling me that she had a bird constantly hitting a bedroom window. She was saying she wish it would go away. Waking her up everytine she turns around. She said she could not deal with any more death. I said to her that it was her momma checking on her. She said you think so. I said that she is worried about you. When she sees you are ok, she will leave. She took me to the window to show me the Redbird. It would not come to the window. I waited for a least a minute;, no bird. So she recorded it on her phone. It was not meant for me to see it. Only she could see it. She did not believe me that it was her momma. Thank you for this info. I immediately sent this to her. Thank you for confirmation.


  20. March 26 1996 my oldest son died of cancer he was 15 years old. March 10 2001 my grandson Jace Leach passed away during birth. July 8 2001 my next to the oldest son passed away from brain anyresume Chance Smith was 19 years old . I’ve always felt and knew my boys come to me threw cardinals. I’ve always voiced my belief. My youngest son Cliff Brewer and I we both have tattoos of cardinals . I wasn’t aware until 3 years ago that the Catholics and many other’s believe in angels appearing in cardinals.
    I’ve had many conformation of this being true.


    • My son Randy passed away on March 8, 2004 and the very next morning a red cardinal appeared on my widow sill and , just perched there cocking his little head to and fro, I knew in that minute it was my Randy telling me he was fine and he loved me, he visits me quite often and the most amazing thing is when I am very much down, he appears… to give me his beautiful smile and to tell me everything will be fine.. I love it when the Cardinal comes to visit sweet Gentle Giant Randy in the form of a little red bird…it is awesome.and I always smile and know its him visiting me once again….Cora Lee Hudson , Greensboro, NC


  21. My mother, whose birthday is today, May 17th, passed away of cancer on Oct.9th, 1970. For 46 years now I’ve missed her but always thought that when I see a cardinal, it’s my mom! We had a red door on our townhouse in Alexandria and she and I both had some red blazers and suede shoes that matched. Whenever I see a cardinal, I think it is my mother dropping by to have a meal and say hello! The female Cardinal is my dad, who was killed in an automobile crash in Germany in 1965. My grandma’s favorite birds were chickadees, so that’s what they are! My brother, who drowned at 23 is a tufted Titmouse! Many conversations are shared about what I’ll be, etc. today, I’m drinking my tea from one of my many Cardinal mugs!


  22. I love cardinals. I love to see them. My story isn’t about cardinals, though. My story is about doves. My daughter was killed in a car accident 5 years ago just last month on April 29. She died on impact. Her boyfriend passed 4 days later from his injuries. At each of their funerals, a dove was released. For a couple of months, when we would go to the cemetery there would be 2 doves on an electric wire close to where they were buried. We were not the only ones who saw them. I have a few different pictures of them. Then one day we went out to visit their graves, and the doves were there but farther down on the line. They sat there for a couple of minutes and then flew away together, and we never saw them again. I wholeheartedly believe it was them. When they flew away, I think they were saying their final goodbyes. I know this doesn’t really fit in with all of the cardinal stories, but I love thinking about the doves. I love to tell people our story. I will always think of cardinals in a different way now.


    • Jill Moore your story is so Heart touching. and do You know that Doves represent LOVE. so I believe that Your Daughter wants to let You know that She’s with You and will always Love You. May God Strengthen and comfort You. I lost My Youngest Brother one year ago May 28,2015 to Lung Cancer, and just recently everyday a Red Cardinal come visit Me every afternoon. and its said to be an Angel of a loss love One. and I feel so comfort when He appears. God works in mysterious ways… And I Love it!


Any Thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s