Waxwings Return

A group of Cedar Waxwings visited the backyard a few days ago. I was able to get nice shots that highlight the “red wax” tips on the wing feathers.

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I’m always happy when I can get a view of the bird’s claws clutching the branches in the trees as he observes his surroundings.

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The Cedar Waxwing is named for these red tip “wax-like” highlights seen in these photos.

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Credit:
Photos from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg

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Camouflaged

The male and female American Goldfinch usually wait until the trees have adequate foliage to camouflage in before they begin flirting about and nesting, respectively. The male, shown here front and back, is very bright yellow with black tail and wing features and a black crown.

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The female (not shown) has no black on its head and has a brownish yellow underbelly and brown wing and tail feathers, but is also very camouflaged in bare branches and Spring leaves of the trees.

 

Female Cardinals Hide

While bright red male Cardinals seem purposefully to expose themselves on open branches, possibly to make attracting females easier, the girls stay more hidden in brush and tree branches. In many incidences, that makes them harder to photograph.

In fact, since earlier in the Spring this season, I’ve gotten one good chance at capturing a female in the only place I’m able to photograph — the backyard of our apartment building.

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Female Cardinals are a good example of how bright coloration favors the male in the bird world, probably for the reason mentioned above: being the mating aggressor, the male needs to be seen more readily for purposes of necessary attraction.

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In the second photo, this same female has gone down closer to the riverbank (note the rocks) in search of nesting materials. She holds a tiny branch in her beak.

Really…Lake Effect Snow Already?

Oh, my! Snowflakes and plows and double-takes! Oh, my… it’s the season’s first Winter snow — but it’s still FALL!

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It started last night,
hinted at morning’s plight.

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This morning’s blowing,
quickly got us knowing
It wouldn’t stop soon,
not even by noon!

It brought us to attention,
early Winter’s gloomy mention.

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The bridge was fine,
but sitting was undermined.

Trees bent very low
and branches were so.

Birds said emphatically “no”;
headed off to otherwise know
a place of sunset’s glow.