Sunday, February 24, 2013

image of perfection

It's hard to think of a bird from our part of the world more beautiful than the cedar waxwing. And when you look at this photo by Deb Green recently sent to me of a waxwing in an American beech, you must surely agree. Her image has a lovely, soft painterly quality, like a Japanese watercolor.

This warms my heart. I haven't seen a waxwing in awhile, but that's the way it is with the species: they come and go. Nomads, that fly in and spend the day on a tree, eating all of its berries and then they move on. Within their range, they can appear anywhere there are ripe fruits, and if it happens to be too ripe and starting to ferment, waxwings can eat themselves drunk. I've never seen an inebriated waxwing but one boon of the species, you really never just see one, it would be a drunken party like college kids on spring break at Daytona Beach. 

The golden birds travel in small groups enjoying the company of other waxwings. Collectively, a flock is known as a "museum of waxwings." (A group of crows is called a murder, hummingbirds come in a charm, and a flock of retail shops is called a mall.)

The intensity of a waxwing's yellows and reds depends on what fruits they ate the season before. The quality of their intoxication depends on the berries' alcohol content.

Thanks, Deb for sharing your image of perfection.


Dorothy said...

This is a favorite bird that I hardly ever get to see! Beautiful picture!

ADRIAN said...

Never thought about their diet affecting their plumage. I should have done they dye fish and flamingo food...What colour would yo like your sparrows in?
I trust you are fully recovered.

Marie said...

A truly gorgeous shot of a beautiful bird. Interesting info too!