Friday, 20 November 2009

birds of a feather...

On my last canoe ride, it's been raining cats and dogs for two days - I am a fair weather paddler, I spotted a flock of Waxwings. Cedar or Bohemian waxwings high up in the tree.

Lots to read about them: The Bohemian Waxwing is an irregular winter visitor from the far North

The above link features the sound they make, too. Call a high-pitched trill, rougher and lower pitched than that of Cedar Waxwing.


The Birds of NA has more info: Named for the nomadic ranging patterns of its winter flocks, the Bohemian Waxwing moves widely, seeking crops of winter fruits, and irregularly sweeps into regions to the south and east of its typical winter range.


Just glorious.

Their flock really hung out together.  Chickadees, they say, stay in a small, fixed flock and venture out and about for 20 acres.

Some (better birders than I!) are explaining, like Jayne, and the Stokes, that there is an abundance of food, birds are not flocking to feeders in more southerly locales, and that the birds have wide ranges for winter foraging. Now, I could be wrong, by I have heard folks say that if there is an abundance of food, we can expect a hard winter, since the flora knows to prepare. I'm just sayin'!!!



Of course, even the woodpeckers (which I thought only ate insects), have been at the feeders here in winter. The birds eat quite a variety of food: not just insects, but pine cone seeds, fruits and berries. And they seem to have a set route. I've noticed them popping around at the same time of day.



By the time I returned from my canoe, the sun was setting and the burnt sienna of the setting sun lit up the trees, bushes and water. The flock was still there. They winter in large flocks and eat insects, as well as seeds.






Cedar Waxwing is slightly smaller, lacks reddish under tail and white and yellow stripes on closed wing, and has a yellowish belly.


From Birds Forever, "The red appendages or vibrant 'sealing wax at the end of its secondary wings give this bird its name."



The blue jays, here, keep squirreling away the seeds. They come back and forth, hiding them in bark folds and nooks and crannies. The squirrels, in mid-winter, bury them in the snow piles on the deck. Others follow them and dig them up and take them away. It is a blessing to watch them. Better than TV!

Back on the deck, the flock was figuring out their next stop. They flitted back and forth while I vainly tried to capture them in flight! MANUAL FOCUS time!


Camera CrittersFor more critters:  Camera-Critters #85

17 comments:

Gaelyn said...

I'll bet it's quite quiet on the lake now. Hope you get some more days nice enough to paddle, and watch the birds. It's nice to go out on the lake with you.

Jenn Jilks said...

Thank you, Gaelyn! I made a HUGE mistake. I usually take my shoes off when I canoe. I kneel on a 2nd life jacket (can't be too safe!) This time I was wearing hubby's lined winter/rain boots. I took them off.
I wasn't wearing thick enough socks and my feet were so cold. I shall be better prepared next time.

chubskulit said...

Those are beautiful!

MY Critters

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Jenn: That is a beautiful bird.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Great post!
I've been thinking about taking up birding. I think it would be a perfect companion to geocaching and would be another "nonconsumptive" outdoor sport.
Besides there is a whole other world flying around above my head and its time to pay attention.

eileeninmd said...

Great post on the Bohemian Waxwings. They are not in my area but I would love to see them someday.
Great photos and I enjoyed your critter post.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

I've never seen a bohemian waxwing; only cedar waxwings here along the river. Waxwings are really lovely birds.

BTW, there doesn't seem to be any lack of birds at my feeders, even though the weather here has remained mild. I'd say there appears to be an abundance of food around, too. Maybe my local birds just like eating on the dole.

Nice post.

Snap said...

Lovely photos from your canoe ride. Hope you get some more rides in before it gets too cold.

i beati said...

quite a lovely trip thanks sandy

~ Kathy ~ said...

cool post... pretty birds!!
Have a GREAT Day!!

We love Luna said...

These birds are very cute and that beautiful blue sky is outstanding!
purrs, love and happy camera critters
Luna

Joy said...

Such a lovely photostory! Thanks for sharing!

squirrel said...

Very nice. I hope to see some and take photos of them one day. In the meantime I am glad you shared yours with us.

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Looks like a great canoe ride, I have never seen a Bohemian waxwing, we have the Cedar Waxwing around here in the fall mostly.

Jenn Jilks said...

I am not 100% sure it *is* the Bohemian, but I keep comparing 'net photos, and my birding books, and while our territory seems a bit more likely to be the Cedar waxwing, I was hoping a better birder than I could rise up and clarify! Could be either one! Ah, me.
I know that with Climate Change, naturalists have been pointing to changes in territory for critters like this. 'Tis intriguing!

Crafty Green Poet said...

I love waxwings, ours are a different species but look very similar. They only visit here some years, but the huge abundance of berries at the moment makes me thing this might be a lucky year...

Steve Borichevsky said...

The Bohemian Waxwing has a rather special and humorous place in my heart. When I was 28, I was living in LA, CA and got a job offer in Boulder Colorado. This was long before the internet and I had access to the Audubon Christmas Bird Count data from the year prior. There was some ridiculous amount of Bohemian Waxwings, something like 25000. It was insane and without hesitation, I packed my bags. If Boulder could have 25000 Bohemians, it must be an okay place.

When I arrived, we didn't have the thousands of Bohemians, but there was no shortage of wonderful wildlife species. I think I've only seen one or two Bohemians.