Wednesday, March 17, 2010

'Tis the season of the Waxwing!

Cedar Waxwings are common winter visitors in the Baton Rouge area. They arrive in late fall and folks report them now and again. But around March each year, they become more visible, it seems. One of the reasons for this is that they're eating in our yards! Hollies are a standard landscaping plant and, either because the other natural berries are depleted, or because the hollies ripen so late in the season, the waxwings come after the hollies. Hollies are used along the streets and around many buildings in the downtown area, so clouds of waxwings descend. They come in small and large flocks, with their extremely high-pitched call, descend on a bush, strip it of the berries and move on. Sometimes they'll get so full they appear to be "drunk" and just fall out on the ground! Unfortunately, Cedar Waxwing window strikes are very common this time of year as well. If you didn't know better, you might mistake these birds for Cardinals, since they also have a crest. But the fine details -- the black mask, the perfect red accents on the wing, and the yellow-dipped tail, tell you this is another bird altogether!

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