It was a little piece of bird photographer heaven right in my own front yard. I had a resident flock of Cedar waxwings visiting my cherry tree for a good three days. Anyone whose tried to get pictures of these sleek little birds knows what a tough catch they are. Not because they're shy creatures, they're decidedly not, it's the fine hair like quality of their smooth pastel plumage that seems all but impossible to capture.
Mine was a visitation of twenty or so of the flashy little bandits that hung out in ambush positions at the top of the tall Poplars and Tameracks and swooped in at intervals to feast on what was left of the freeze dried fruit that still cling to the cherry tree. They didn't seem to mind me darting out from under a Blue spruce searching for the optimum angle like a caffeined up fashion photographer.
Wandering Gypsies that they are, the arrival and departure of an ear-full or a museum of Waxwings cannot be known. Unless your protecting a Northern cherry orchard they are pleasant company. I cannot think of another bird bird in these cold Great Lakes regions that has such a refined tropical look and courtly manners. It could be the North Woods version of Cupid or Eros so lovingly and politely do these birds treat each other and the world at large. I would recommend Bombycilla cedrorum as the perfect representative for Valentines day, so easily can they steal your heart!
From Familiar Birds we read this account from: Bradford Torrey (1885) who gives us this delightfully dainty snapshot of the cedarbird: "Taking an evening walk, I was stopped by the sight of a pair of cedar-birds on a stone wall. They had chosen a convenient flat stone, and were hopping about upon it, pausing every moment or two to put their little bills together. What a loving ecstasy possessed them! Sometimes one, sometimes the other, sounded a faint lisping note, and motioned for another kiss. But there is no setting forth the ineffable grace and sweetness of their chaste behavior."
Again from Familiar Birds: Alexander Wilson (Wilson and Bonaparte, 1832), writing of this attractive decoration says: "Six or seven, and sometimes the whole nine, secondary feathers of the wings are ornamented at the tips with small red oblong appendages, resembling red sealing-wax; these appear to be a prolongation of the shafts, and to be intended for preserving the ends, and consequently the vanes, of the quills, from being broken and worn away by the almost continual fluttering of the bird among thick branches of the cedar. The feathers of those birds which are without these appendages are uniformly found ragged on the edges, but smooth and perfect in those on whom the marks are full and numerous."
Please note: This is the only time I have ever seen waxy appendages on the tail feathers!
You don't have to be a Bird Watcher or expert photographer to join in, just enjoy sharing what you bring back from your explorations and adventures into nature!
World Bird Wednesday will be open for posting at 12 noon Tuesday EST North America through midnight on Wednesday.
#1. Simply copy the above picture onto your W.B.W. blog entry, it contains a link for your readers to share in the fun. Or, you can copy this link on to your blog page to share WBW. http://pineriverreview.blogspot.com/
#2. Come to The Pine River Review on Tuesday Noon EST North America through Wednesday midnight and submit your blog entry with InLinkz.
#3. Check back in during the course of the next day and explore these excellent photoblogs!
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Gorgeous photos, Springman! Great lighting. The detail in the close-up of the feathers is fantastic! I really like that shot. We haven't seen any waxwings here this winter.ReplyDelete
gorgeous detail! love these birds!ReplyDelete
and love the sweet little downy female in your header, too!
Stunning detail of their feathers. Outstanding Springman!ReplyDelete
Beautiful shots, Springman! Waxwings are such gorgeous birds, and it's so much fun to watch a flock of them. Love your woodpecker header too!ReplyDelete
So happy to see this magnificent bird featured on your post, and to get such a nice close-up of the spectacular details.ReplyDelete
These are exquisite shots! The birds look so soft you just long to touch them!ReplyDelete
Cedar waxwings are such gorgeous birds. You certainly got some amazing captures of them this week.ReplyDelete
Thank you for sharing your beautiful Waxwings! Great detail in your close-ups of their silky plumage and colorful appendages.ReplyDelete
you really got some great shots of your waxwing. So great to see the feathers up close. I can´t say if our waxwing has the same red on the tail feathers. I have to check that out. :)ReplyDelete
Fantastic images! Only twice have I seen these birds. They migrate through but don't linger long so I must be lucky to spot them. Maybe this year!ReplyDelete
Amazing shots! Such a treat to have these in your yard. And you really caught the detail in the feathers.ReplyDelete
Great post!!! Beautiful shots and excellent detail.ReplyDelete
Springman, Wow, what exquisite shots of one of my nemesis birds. As you mentioned, easy to shoot, but difficult to get a good shot! The other day I was out, they were so close to me that I could get a focus! I did manage a couple of good ones!ReplyDelete
Cheers to you! Have a great week!
How striking is your little header bird today Springman! Your museum of waxwings, certainly you would’ve been buzzing with excitement knowing here was your WBW post wrapped up, and ‘in the can’. How hard is it to wait through till Wednesday to share with us?! Such a sweet reference too, from Bradford Torrey. Those brilliant flashes of red on the mid-sections of the wings, and then the splash of yellow on their tail; just a delightful teaser from the artist's palette.ReplyDelete
These are gorgeous birds and your shots are superb. I've been visited only once by a flock of them and was awestruck. You hear their whistling sound before you see them in the tops of the trees.ReplyDelete
The clarity and detail of your waxwing photos are truly amazing. Just great images!ReplyDelete
These are just fantastic captures of these beautiful birds! I love them!!ReplyDelete
Stunning details of their feathers.
Thanks for hosting.
Awesome Cedar Waxwing photos Dave! They always remind me of the perfect fashion models with not a feather out of place. The feather detail on your close-ups is truly amazing! I also have never noticed the red tips on the tail feathers. I will have to take note next encounter with these beauties!ReplyDelete
Gorgeous photos of the Waxwings! the colors and details on the wings are awesome!ReplyDelete
Wonderful images Springman.ReplyDelete
Waxwings are beautiful birds to see..
We had so many during the harsh winter of 2010/11 but I haven't even had a report of any during our mild winter this year..
The birds we see come over from Scandinavia only when food gets short.
Oh well there's always next year..
Beautiful birds and great photos - especially the really close-up details of their plumage.ReplyDelete
Beautiful series but I love that closeup! Great detail!ReplyDelete
Beautiful header today as well!
A Happy Valentine's Day to you as well.
These are stunning pictures Dave.ReplyDelete
A truly beautiful bird.
Wonderful photos of a beautiful bird. The details you have captured are brilliant.ReplyDelete
Your pictures are amazing. These are such gorgeous birds.ReplyDelete
I think all of us coming by today love your bird! What an exclusive details! Amazing photos!ReplyDelete
Hi there - wonderful pictures. Waxwing (a different species mind you!) are the only bird I have ever ticked from inside a bus!ReplyDelete
I was on my way to work in the NE of England - the bus pulled up at a red light, and out of the window was a flock of waxwings! I was off at the next stop and running back to the lights! I was late for work, but they were very understanding!
Cheers - Stewart M - Australia
just lovely... I'm enviousReplyDelete
Perfect photos! Love the close-up of the feathers... Thanks :)ReplyDelete
Love this weeks header, Springman!ReplyDelete
But, WOW, I am in awe. Those waxwings are absolutely gorgeous. What beautiful contrasts of colours & facial markings. And your close up of the waxy appendages on the wings and tail are quite remarkable.
Such a beautiful little bird. I love the sleek, smooth plummage.
Thanks for sharing the beauty from your part of the world!
Waxwings are so lovely, aren't they? I love the way you show us the details of their plumage!ReplyDelete
Fabulous pictures! I remember the leader of a birding group telling us that cedar waxwings don't follow the same migration pattern from year to year. We had them in our holly bush one year -- one of my best birding experiences ever and right from our own patio (this was when we had our home in Oregon.)ReplyDelete
How lucky you are to get those great close-ups in your own yard!The detail of the feathers you were able to get are beautiful,phyllisReplyDelete
Thanks for the stunning photos of these fascinating birds, as well as your interesting commentary. I was encouraged to hear your story about the Audubon bird call. I'll keep trying!ReplyDelete
I was so enjoying your captures of the waxwings, till I got to the third shot! I was mesmerized!!!! That one is so far beyond gorgeous that there are no words!!!ReplyDelete
Maybe I exaggerate, but only a tiny bit!!
I agree they are hard to catch a good shot of...I got lucky with some last winter, but so far this winter its been far far away up in the sky...ReplyDelete
Your photos are awesome, great detail of those little red tips...
Das sind Raphael und YvonneFebruary 19, 2012 at 8:17 AM
Very nice pictures!
Many greetings from Switzerland
Yvonne & Raphael
The Waxwings are beautiful, they make such a brilliant photograph.ReplyDelete
Dave, such magnificent images of the Waxwings! In German they are called "Silk Tails" and surely their plumage is like silk. I first encountered waxwings in Nabokov's novel "Pale Fire" They sounded mysterious and romantic, had no idea though what they looked like - that was years and years before the internet. It's almost a pity that everything now is so easily accessible...ReplyDelete
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