Thursday, March 08, 2007

Cedar Waxwings at work

The other day, Deb called me to the window to see some birds she couldn't identify. CEDAR WAXWINGS! A whole flock of them, right outside the windows, eating berries off the trees. I don't know what kind of trees these are; they're very common up here, though. At first, I tried to take some through the glass:

Look at all that glare. So I went outside at lunch and took a few better photos. There were so many of them!

My first birding guide, one of those National Audubon Society pocket guides, had a cover photo of a cedar waxwing; I'd never seen such a beautiful bird. I bought that guide years ago, and I would look at it over and over, wishing I could see birds like brown thrashers, rose-breasted grosbeaks, and ring-necked pheasants, but where would I see them in Texas? So I was just a part-time bird observer, loving them but never really expecting to see any of the birds in my little guide. Although some of them were supposed to winter in the south, I never saw much besides some house sparrows and grackles.

There was my little red house finch who visited me at Domino's, but he was the most exotic bird I saw. (well, there was that crazy house over on the south side of Ft Worth where an entire colony of bright green parrots lived. They had these HUGE nests made of twigs. I think the people in the home where the "main" tree home was were selling the parrots, but I'm not sure.

Then we moved up here to Pennsylvania, and it all changed. I saw dark-eyed juncos, black-capped chickadees, and other birds I'd never seen before in Fort Worth (where we lived before). I put up a little bird feeder in the tree outside our back patio door at the apartments we moved into up here. I saw my first chipmunk and my first groundhog at those apartments.

Then we moved into our marsh house, and I saw my first eastern bluebird, eastern meadowlark, and American bittern; I was hooked. I declared myself a beginning birder and started this blog. A local birder came out here and spotted a cedar waxwing for me, and I'll never forget that moment.

These guys are in the trees every sunny day now, feasting on berries (whatever they are). Look at this guy throwing his head back and gulping that big berry down:

To see so many of these birds, all less then five feet away from me through those windows--well, let's just say it made my week.


Mary said...

Wahooo! Loving this. I saw a huge flock of them on Valentine's Day this year and I posted about them. Gorgeous - a lifer for me! Congratulations on those beautiful photos!

Larry said...

I love seeing Cedar Waxwings but for some reason, I haven't come across them since last year.-thanks for sharing the photos.

dguzman said...

Thanks, Mary!

These waxwings were the first I'd seen since winter began, Larry, so maybe they were taking a little southern exposure before coming back up north. Every guide I have says they're year-round residents up here, but I didn't see even one during the winter.

Larry said...

Just wanted to let you know that I used an excerpt from your blog for a guessing game.-hope you don't mind.-thanks

dguzman said...

Don't mind at all, Larry! Hope you see some cedar waxwings soon.