11 December 2007

Cedar waxwings arrive

I spotted by first flock of cedar waxwings on Sunday, perched above the backyard in the pecan. For some reason, these are my favorite birds, and I love their arrival in the winter.

I almost never see them first. I'm usually going about my daily chores--working in the garden walking the dog--and finally the whistling, trilly song of the birds chatting with each other moves from way back in my subconscious mind up into my conscious mind. It goes from background music to turn-up-the-knob and listen.

I love it. They winter here in flocks and love to eat berries, especially the nasty invasive ligustrum berries when they are more ripe on down the line.

Another sure sign of winter here in Austin is the arrival of cardinals. I saw my first cardinals about a week ago, and now see the males singing their songs perched at the tip top of the naked tree branches. Awesome!


Pam/Digging said...

Pam @ Digging says:

Nice shot. I'll have to look for the waxwings. I've never seen one in my yard before. What do they eat?

But aren't the cardinals here in summer too? I thought I'd seen them then, but maybe I misremember. I know I see them in winter in the bare branches.

Pam/Digging said...

Pam @ Digging says:

Hello! You mentioned what they eat. I have lots of yaupon berries but thankfully no ligustrum. Maybe they're off hunting those.

Lee said...

I'm not 100% sure what they prefer to eat here, but I've seen them all over ligustrum, yaupon and other hollies (but not until late winter), cherry laurel...pretty much anything with berries I guess. Back in Madison they loved the hawthorns.

I think the cardinals are here in summer too, but it seems that they are much quieter. Maybe they stop breeding for a little while in the hottest months? Anyway, winter and spring is when they are most active (or at least that's when I can see and hear them up in those bare branches!).

Dawn said...

Ah, so pretty! I haven't seen any waxwings in my garden yet. In Florida we always saw them in flocks that would land in our fruit trees. I loved to watch them. They always seemed like the Porsches of sky. They are very sleek and posh.

Annie in Austin said...

Hi Lee,

We used to see Cedar waxwings take the blue berries of junipers at our houses in Illinois - the big old overgrown Pfitzer types found in the older suburbs of Chicago. I think they like nandina berries, too. They're such cool birds!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose