Most days, fol­low­ing a brief period of cof­fee and news con­sump­tion, I launch into a caffeine-inspired frenzy of laun­dry, house tidy­ing, email, writ­ing and client-related or other work. Now that we are empty-nesters and week­end soc­cer and school events are a thing of the past, week­ends are often filled with bread and cake bak­ing, errands, major clean­ing or repair projects and—in season—gardening.

But some days…

Well, some days I just can’t quite seem to fig­ure out what to do. I don’t feel par­tic­u­larly inspired by any poten­tial plan. Do I want to sew? Nah. Do I want to make jam? Meh. Do I want to re-arrange the book­shelves? Not really.

Today was one of those days. I spent about 45 min­utes half-heartedly pick­ing up one project and putting it down, wan­der­ing around and look­ing at all the things that needed doing. Noth­ing was really cap­tur­ing my atten­tion. So I was stand­ing upstairs, look­ing out the win­dow and pon­der­ing my lack of enthu­si­asm. That’s then I saw them.

The cedar waxwings are here!

Cedar Waxwings on Win­ter King Hawthorns. (Click on photo to embiggen.)

The cedar waxwings only make an appear­ance here once a year and it’s always within about a two-week period in Feb­ru­ary. In 2009, they were here on Feb­ru­ary 11—yes, exactly three years ago today. In 2010 and 2011 they were here Feb­ru­ary 19. That’s impres­sively reg­u­lar for a group of ani­mals with­out the ben­e­fit of a Google calendar.

Cedar Waxwings on Win­ter King Hawthorns. (Click on photo to embiggen.)

The big attrac­tion for the cedar waxwings are the Win­ter King Hawthorns that line the dri­ve­way clos­est to our house. They are full of lus­cious red berries even in Feb­ru­ary. The cedar waxwings fly in in a huge flock, perch­ing in the trees sur­round­ing the hay­field. You can hear them chat­ter­ing away and see them swoop­ing down in groups of three and four, help­ing them­selves to the berry banquet.

Within three or four days, the trees will be denuded of ever last berry and the cedar waxwings will move on to the next stop on their annual itinerary.

Nat­u­rally, I was inspired to whip out the cam­era and the honkin’ big lens. It didn’t mat­ter that it was cold and a lit­tle driz­zly. I finally had found my project. Good thing I was stand­ing around gaz­ing out the windows!

Cedar Waxwing in Win­ter King Hawthorn (click on photo to embiggen.)

Be Socia­ble, Share!
Robin

18 Responses to “Arrival of the Cedar Waxwings”

  1. céline Says:

    bravo for the pics, Robin. I have never seen birds like these before, mind you, I’m not very good at birds, but I loved read­ing about nature fol­low­ing its mil­le­nium course : this appoint­ment with the waxwings is one of mar­vel. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Gail Says:

    Fab­u­lous cap­tures Robin. I’ve never had the honor of them vis­it­ing my gar­den but, love see­ing them in yours. Maybe, it’s time to plant a few more berry pro­duc­ing trees. Your hawthorns are gor­geous! gail

  3. Frances Says:

    Oh my good­ness! They are fab­u­lous, and the images are spec­tac­u­lar! Well done!!!!!

  4. Yvonne Says:

    Just lovely, I enjoy these birds when they come to our crab apple trees.

  5. Layanee Says:

    I really wish I could get my eye­liner on that straight. I never see them at my house but I will look in the next three weeks on the junipers as I have heard that they like juniper berries. Great shots and I am glad they solved your to do dilemma.

  6. Daisy Says:

    Hi Robin!
    Beau­ti­ful post with awe­some pic­tures! What I find even more amaz­ing is your abil­ity to iden­tify the birds…impressive! I can iden­tify wood­peck­ers not by sight but by the sound they make when they are peck­ing at my house. Oh, and the robins, because they visit my gar­den in the spring look­ing for worms. We all have to start somewhere.

    Thank you for sharing

  7. Carol Says:

    Beau­ti­ful. The les­son here is don’t lis­ten to the teach­ers — it does pay to some­times just gaze out the window.

  8. Kathy from Cold Climate Gardening Says:

    Those hawthorns remind me of my neighbor’s win­ter­ber­ries. We have native hawthorns in the woods, but I have never grown any orna­men­tally. I would like to attract the birds where I can see them from the house. More research is in order.

  9. Julie Says:

    Wow–such gor­geous pho­tos! I adore bird watch­ing but find that as soon as I locate my cam­era, they’re gone. Lovely shots–thanks for sharing!

  10. Kylee from Our Little Acre Says:

    These are one of my very favorite vis­i­tors here at Our Lit­tle Acre, though I haven’t seen them here in awhile. Your pho­tos are beau­ti­ful, Robin!

  11. Kiko Says:

    @Carol haha, that’s a good excuse to tell your teacher when you got caught look­ing out the win­dow and not pay­ing atten­tion. Enjoy life even in the small­est detail. Love the pic­tures robin, we don’t get that kind of birds around here though, i wish they would visit. What we get mostly here are crows and vul­tures. nah, kid­din, but we also get some annual vis­its from migra­tory birds (I have no idea about the names of their species). We enjoy look­ing at them perch­ing at our trees in the gar­den from time to time. I’m a bud­ding gar­dener and inher­ited a semi-urbanized area to grow a gar­den. I get a lot of tips and ideas from blogs like yours and this site: http://danthegardener.com/ Have a great spring!

  12. Carol from allaboutrosegardening Says:

    Just beau­ti­ful! We are all very.…glad that you couldn’t find some­thing to do that day! Now we can all enjoy the beau­ti­ful birds!
    Your blog is terriffic!

  13. Gordon Rigg Says:

    Loved the bot­tom pic­ture of the waxwing eat­ing the Berry. Caught it it at exactly the right minute. Looks the sort of image that could win a photo competition.

  14. julie Says:

    Hi Robin, Just wanted to pop it to say hi and let you know how happy I am to have dis­cov­ered your blog. I’m in the process of design­ing a potager and your pic­tures and infor­ma­tion have been most inspir­ing. Look­ing for­ward to read­ing your new posts.

  15. Yael Says:

    The pic­tures of the Cedar Waxwings in the Hawthorne are won­der­ful. We get them occa­sion­ally. And last year a huge flock of them descended upon my Dog­wood and ate most the berries that were there. A few days later a flock of robins fin­ished off what was left.

    Yael

  16. Latia Says:

    Awe­some picture.Thank you for shar­ing this to us..

  17. Dirty Girl Gardening Says:

    very serene, not a care in the world for these peace­ful birds

  18. Murat Says:

    Incred­i­ble photo shots here. These birds are very unique and are just exam­ples of the beauty of our nature. I like to watch birds as you are. They give me life power and happiness.

Garden and food writer Robin Ripley is co-author of Grocery Gardening. Her new book, Wisdom for Home Preservers, is now available from Taunton Press. Bumblebee is about her life in rural Maryland, her garden, cooking, dogs and pet chickens. She also blogs about food and chickens at Eggs & Chickens. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Thank you for visiting.

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