A small flock of Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) visited my Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) today. A visual treat! Fruit-lovers, they favor this winter delicacy.
Cornell’s All About Birds describes them so well:
“…the Cedar Waxwing is a silky, shiny collection of brown, gray, and lemon-yellow, accented with a subdued crest, rakish black mask, and brilliant-red wax droplets on the wing feathers. In fall these birds gather by the hundreds to eat berries, filling the air with their high, thin, whistles. In summer you’re as likely to find them flitting about over rivers in pursuit of flying insects, where they show off dazzling aeronautics for a forest bird.”
They are one of my favorite birds. In summer, when I sit down by the river, I love to watch them as they swoop to and fro catching insects, their ‘zhee-zhee’ calls filling the air. It is by their distinctive call that I most often identify them, as I will hear them before I see them.
Thank you for the link to their call, Eliza. We have a shrub here called mahonia. I never saw it in Massachusetts but you may know it? Also known as grape holly. One day, when the berries were nice and ripe, I saw the entire bush bouncing up and down and it was cedar waxwings, I later determined. I thought they looked like little cardinals in a way. I can’t wait to see if they come again and fingers crossed I get another show because once they devoured all the berries, I never saw them again.
I do know the mahonia and having a fruit, I’m sure they loved it! I have found them to be nomadic, roaming in flocks from food source to food source. I used to have an apple tree out back that had apples that would stay attached, frozen and rotted, all winter and usually in January I would get flocks for few days until they were devoured. Drunk cedars and robins all over the place. 😉
Oh they are beautiful, Eliza! Lovely pictures too!
Beautiful birds, beautiful berries and beautiful photos Eliza. We occasionally get winter visiting waxwings here in Ireland – they are Bombycilla garrulus, but quite similar to your ones. I haven’t recorded them around us yet – but we have lots of rowan trees now (and they like rowan berries) so maybe we will see them here in the future.
B. garrulus – very vociferous, eh? love that name. We supposedly get those as well, though I haven’t seen any here. I hope you get some in your rowan trees.
Thanks for your kind comments and visit!
These are such excellent photos, Eliza!
Thanks so much, Kim! 🙂
Beautiful, thanks for sharing!
Thank you, Maria, my pleasure.
Beautiful Bird. One of my favorite pass times is watching the birds. I have about 6 Blue Jays that come to my feeder and they are so pretty I never get tired of watching them.
I am the same way, watching the birds livens up the dreary winter months.
These are really exceptional photos, Eliza. The lack of color in the background and the bright red of the berries focus my attention on the birds. And the birds! They are quite beautiful.
Amazing, aren’t they? Their feathers are so fine, they look like velvet. Thanks, M!
So beautiful. Thank you so much for these wonderful photographs.
Thanks, Gigi. It is a pleasure to share them. 🙂
awww…you captured their beauty! LOVELY:-) They are “stunning” birds. I love their markings + when they grace me with their beauty on my city lot, I just stand in awe…..they are beauties…
Happy New Year Eliza!!!!
Thanks Robbie, they are special birds. Happy 2015 to you!
Such beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing Eliza.
Thank you, Catherine. Do you get cedar waxwings in winter? They move around, so once the berries are gone, so are they.
Beautiful, plant and bird both! Thanks for sharing.
Thanks so much!
What a beautiful picture!
Thank you, Julie. Happy New Year to you!
You to Eliza! I was just commenting that there isn’t much to photo right now because we have very little snow and everything is brown. You didn’t have that problem!
They are such pretty birds, Eliza, and so different to the birds we have in Australia. The photos are gorgeous too, the red berries really pop out against the background.
Thanks, Joanne. Winterberry and holly are one of the few spots of color we have in winter, at least until the birds eat them all by mid-Jan.
What gorgeous shots!
Thanks a ton, Fi. Hope you are enjoying your holidays!
Thank you kindly!
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Such a lovely little fellow this bird is, and such lovely photos, too. It’s my dream one day to get a camera that’s good enough to take photos of all the birds I love near where I live — they are so hard to capture without good equipment. (That’s my excuse, anyway … ) Happy new year, Eliza, and may 2015 bring you lots of happiness, health and lovely moments on your patch of paradise.
Thank you Rebecca, waxwings are such lovely subjects. I bought a long lens just for birds, but would really need to spend a bundle to get one where I’d don’t have to get 20′ away. I have to creep slowly towards my subjects in hopes that they won’t take flight. When I go to bird sanctuaries and see others lens’, I have such envy! The downside is that they have to drag around all that heavy equipment! 😉 Happy new year to you!
These photos are spectacular, Eliza! 😀
Thank you very much Lily. Happy new year!
LOVE these birds – the reason why I let those wild grapes go wild – even for just a short visit!
Yes, their visits are short. In the span of a few days, they removed every winterberry on these bushes and there were thousands of berries this year! No wonder they are nomadic, they eat a lot.
Gorgeous photos! I always get so excited when the flocks breeze through for a few days. Such beautiful, gregarious birds.
Thanks, Gina. I am fond of them, they hold a special place in my heart!