Thirsty Throngs

february-23-2009-waxwings-028-2It was just beginning to get light outside. The streetlamps had extinguished their bright glare into my kitchen window. The sun was not quite up and there was frost on everything after another night in the low 20s. A letter was sitting on the counter containing seeds for a friend that needed to go into the box at the curb for dear Claude the mailman to gather and speed on to its destination. As I stepped outside in the chilly air the sound of multitudes of birds greeted me. What a cacophony it was. The hub of activity was across the street in the large berry loaded American Holly trees behind my neighbor’s carport. The Cedar Waxwings were having a banquet with plenty of chatter. february-22-2009-030-2The throngs of Waxwings had arrived yesterday with a clatter on the metal roof of the addition that joins the main house to the garage. They were drinking the water from the incompetently installed gutters that don’t drain properly. Sitting in the lazyboy with the laptop gazing out the window in between the typing of letters while listening to the takes offs and landings made for an enjoyable pursuit on a sunny afternoon.february-22-2009-042-2The small birdbath was also a much sought after spa because….february-22-2009-052-2The protective netting was still over the pond. Action had to be taken when the immensity of the numbers of visitors this next morning was internalized. The liquid in the gutters was frozen.february-23-2009-waxwings-031-2As it was in the birdbath. There was only one course of action. The netting must be pulled back from the pond. The stones were frozen to the damp earth that held the covering in place around the edges. Effort and strength of will dislodged the rocks as the cold bled through the wool gloves.february-23-2009-waxwings-027-2There must have been scouts in our treetops, most likely robins, for they have been seen traveling in large numbers with the flocks. Within seconds of the netting removal they began gathering in the trees, shrubs, rocks and fence around the pond. Something was falling from above, sort of like rain. Rats, I just washed my hair, too. Hood up I crept closer, tiptoeing along the wall behind the main house. The size of the pond was inadequate for the numbers of thirsty visitors so a constant rotation made for flapping wings all about. They allowed me to get within a few feet of the watering hole as they flew up and landed with reckless abandon. The thought materialized that an unlucky lift off could fly right into the camera toting voyeur and knock me off the wall as a dart whizzed past my hooded ear.february-23-2009-waxwings-025-2 A wonder of nature revealed itself this day of frosty beginnings. The heart races at the remembering of being allowed to stand so close and witness magic in real life.

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63 Responses to Thirsty Throngs

  1. Now you have done a good deed today Frances. I remember some words by John Wesley. It starts with “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can….”
    πŸ™‚ Tyra

    Hi Tyra, thanks. That is a good motto to live by, and easy to do when it comes to helping the birds. I was happy with the netting over the pond this year, the first time it has been covered. It kept the leaves out and also any critter fishermen. But the birds lost their drinking fountain so the birdbath was maintained as best as possible with the freezing temps that have been so frequent. The visit of the waxwings happens twice a year and for short duration. After they leave I may put the netting back on for a while longer, or not. I don’t know yet. Like you, I am ready to call for an end to winter! πŸ™‚

  2. Janet says:

    My goodness Frances, what beauties. We have the Cedar Waxwings only occassionally in our area. I think their coloring is really pretty.. they look like little bandits. I love your birdbath. Janet

    Hi Janet, thanks for that. We only see the waxwings twice a year, coming and going somewhere else I guess. It is a big deal when they appear and I was fortunate to get so close to them. They must have been very thirsty to allow it. I think they look like the Lone Ranger, hi ho Silver, away!

  3. kanak says:

    Oh Frances, to see that in real life… My heart raced as I read about it all, you removing the netting… They’re beautiful birds and anyone would be lucky to be able to experience a precious moment like that.

    Hi Kanka, thanks for visiting. I see we share the love of watching the birds, all of them. Your water hen is such an exotic to me, love it! πŸ™‚

  4. Wow! What an incredible experience! Thank you for sharing.

    Hi Kathy, thanks for visiting. It was exciting to be allowed to get so close without the whole group taking off as one, like usually happens. One in a lifetime.

    BTW, I could not leave a comment on your seed in bag post today, but will be watching your progress. It sounds so easy.

  5. gittan says:

    Oh, these poor birds. You have made the best thing today =)

    Hi Gittan, thanks. They must have been so thirsty to allow me so close, or grateful. πŸ™‚

  6. Jan says:

    I love when the cedar waxwings come through. They are such handsome birds.

    Always Growing

    Hi Jan, thanks for visiting. Me too. I wonder if we would be so excited if they were here all the time like the cardinals? The markings of yellow on the tail and the little bit of red send a thrill of delight all through my being!

  7. Oh I love the cedar waxwings–they are such elegant birds! How fortunate for them that you were there to “open up the bar.”

    Hi Susan, so nice to see you. That is a great phrase, I was tryng to think of something about a bar, just the brain just couldn’t come up with it! I need to offer more water for all the birds I think. Our weather has been so cold that the birdbaths have been frozen solid many days on end. Maybe one with a heater, or a way to leave some of the pond open for them. I’ll have to put my thinking cap on!

  8. Gail says:

    Frances, How wonderful an experience…Aren’t they incredible looking! Another good reason to have fresh water for them…they desperately need it! I hear a thaw might be in our forecast! Have fun in the garden. gail

    Hi Gail, thanks, it was. My heart was pounding while trying not to fall off the wall! I do hope it gets warmer before sundown today, I plan on working outside if the ground is not frozen yet again. Hope you can get out too.

  9. Darla says:

    Just wonderful photos here. Don’t you love the sound of the birds and rain on the metal roof? I need some help IDing some seedlings please.

    Hi Darla, thanks. I love the sound of rain especially on the roof. The birds make such a funny clatter too. I knew a few of your seedlings. What a gorgeous showing they will make.

  10. Hi, Frances. Once again you astound with your photography. How beautiful, and how blessed you were to have gotten that close. And, thank you for the encouraging words!

    Hi Kathryn, thanks. I have been trying to leave a comment on your dog beach post but cannot. It would be of great help to non blogger users like me if you would allow for name and id commenting. Also, get rid of the word verification, you can delete any spam yourself and it is super annoying, especially when it freezes up, like it is doing now. Just a suggestion. πŸ™‚

    Here is my comment to your post:
    Hi Kathryn, you are a good storyteller! I enjoyed seeing your dog at the beach. What a perfect place for dogs to run at full speed! We had an Aussie too, the cutest puppy ever and so full of personality. I see the rot in your dog too, with the fuller shoulders. She sounds like a loving and wonderful companion.

  11. Randy says:

    Wow! I can’t believe you got so close with that last photo! How far away were you?

    Hi Randy, thanks. I kept inching closer along the wall and they knew I was there but didn’t fly off in a mass like I kept expecting them to. The closest I got was less than three feet! I figure that is a once in a lifetime feat.

  12. What great photos, Frances! There are lots of waxwings around the Valley, but we don’t see them up here on the hill that often. I’d swap a few of my snow bunting friends for a swarm of waxwings just once, I think. They’re such handsome, elegant looking birds. Thank you for your patience in getting such lovely photos of them.

    Hi Jodi, thanks. With my 6x zoom I have to be pretty close to get a decent shot of anything. I was lucky that day. That sounds like an even trade, the snow buntings for some waxwings. They are not regulars here, only traveling through in late winter and early fall. They are still here today and I am enjoying them even more since I am not trying to photograph them.

  13. kerri says:

    I’m smiling at your excitement, Frances. What a wonderful adventure! My heart would be racing too. The beautiful waxwings are most certainly grateful for a water source and how lucky that you have one, and graciously uncovered it for them.
    We never see them here, sad to say.
    I’m so pleased that you shared your wonderful photos and exciting morning. Thank you πŸ™‚

    Hi Kerri, thanks. I know you would have loved to see them, they are still here today even. It is more relaxing for me to just watch them rather than trying to get a picture though. πŸ™‚

  14. Robin says:

    Oh, Frances! You were rewarded tenfold for your good deed! What a wonderful thing to witness and experience. They must have been so thirsty!

    I’ve seen just one waxwing here and was thrilled. I can’t imagine having that many so close!

    Hi Robin, thanks, I agree that their thirst let me get that close. I wish you were here with your camera, there would have been some exceptional photos! They are still here, across the street eating holly berries and coming here for a drink and to spot up the deck and everything else with little blobs that contain seeds of the hollies. I am wondering if we will be awash in baby hollies in the gravel walkways? HA

  15. Frances,

    This almost brought tears to my eyes! I just love the Waxwings. They have the most elegant beauty about them. The poor things were definitely in need of water. We keep our stream open all year since the circulating pump for the waterfall keeps the water from freezing — and we have no expensive koi to protect. The birds bathe and drink in the morning sunshine next to the waterfall.


    Hi Cameron, thanks, I wish you had been here to see the sight. They are still here today, I wonder if they will leave when the holly berries are all eaten. Our pond pump is also on all year to keep the water from freezing. I guess the thing to do is watch for them and uncover the pond when they stop here. I am sure your water garden is a delight for the birds as well the humans. πŸ™‚

  16. commonweeder says:

    What a magical – and busy – beginning to the day. And your usual magnificent photos.

    Hi Pat, thanks. It was an exciting day and the waxwings are still here today too. I was lucky to be able to get close enough for decent photos with my poor zooming camera.

  17. skeeter says:

    Lucky you Frances! I was so excited while reading your post! I know that feeling when those beautiful Waxwings show up! I stop whatever I am doing and rush for the camera but with little luck on snapping the pics. Your pictures are of great quality and so close they let you get to them! They probably never saw you as they were exhausted from their journey and too busy refreshing their souls with fresh water. Those guys were so lucky to have you home when they arrived so you could pull back the wire from the drinking well. We usually have water in the creek for them when they stop by in the Spring. Fall is another story as the creek is usually dry from the drought summer days. They are a most beautiful bird to see in nature. Again, how lucky you are to have witnessed this spectacular moment in life πŸ™‚

    Hi Skeeter, thanks. Luck was with me and allowed me to think fast and uncover the pond at the right time too. I had tried to take pictures the day before that while they were on the roof and couldn’t even begin to get close. They always flew away no matter how careful and sneaky I was. I have always loved the looks of them, just seeing pictures in books as a child and dreamt of seeing one in real life. This was like a dream come true.

  18. Monica says:

    Aw, lookit all the cute cedar waxwings. They always look so sleek and elegant to me. I’ve never seen one IRL even though they (supposedly!) are in Michigan year-round. And, banana bites!, my birdbath heater is broken. I have to crack the ice and refill every morning.

    HA Monica, banana bites! This is a G rated blog! πŸ™‚ I would like to get a heated birdbath, for all the birds, or figure out a way to leave part of the pond uncovered. Normally the birds drink from the pond all year. But after losing ten fish last winter we decided to cover it with netting, both to keep the leaves out along with predators. But the poor birds!

  19. Daphne Gould says:

    Wow what a treat. I’ve seen wax wings around, but I’ve never seen a flock of them before.

    Hi Daphne, thanks, it truly was. Other years we have seen twenty or so, but there had to be hundreds in the forty foot tall hollies across the street. Our pond is no where near large enough and everywhere else the water was frozen. What were they thinking? Lucky for them, and me that we keep the pump running all year so the pond doesn’t freeze over.

  20. Lola says:

    What a fantastic experience Frances. I’ve never seen one of those lovely birds here. They sure are cute. I’m so glad they allowed you to get that close. That is awesome.
    Sure hope your ground thaws soon.

    Hi Lola, thanks. We see them only twice a year and never have I gotten so close, and especially with the camera! The ground was frozen this morning, but is supposed to warm up later this afternoon. I am dying to get out there and DO something!

  21. wiseacre says:

    Now I know where all the waxwings went. I haven’t seen any around here since I spotted them last week.

    Seeing them at your pond makes me think I should get a heater for mine. Providing water might be just the thing to bring them around. There’s plenty of wild berries available but all the watering holes are still frozen over.

    Hi Wiseacre, thanks for visiting. We do have more than our share of them here, easily in the hundreds, if not more. I have always felt the water was the draw for them in my garden. I have berries but not in the quantities they would need since they travel in such a large group. The pond is not large enough, but at least it is not frozen like the nearby creek. A heater might do the trick for you getting more of them at your place.

  22. Dawn says:

    Goodness! What beautiful photos, and to be so close! I like your pond, lucky birds

    Hi Dawn, thanks. I never imagined they would let me get so close. Luck was with me.

  23. Pam/Digging says:

    They look like nattily dressed masked bandits. Those birds have style. Zorro!

    Hi Pam, yes, zorro style! En garde!

  24. YDavis says:

    I am starting to enjoy bird watching. There are mostly bluejays in the backyard. A few Cardinals. A few chickadees(I think they are). A pair of red-tail hawk live closeby. And an occational sighting of woodpecker.

    Hi YD, watching the birds really helps us get through the winter. Black oil sunflower seeds is what we use in the feeders and scattered about. Having brush piles for habitat and fresh water helps draw them too. When the hawks are overhead, the birds are all hiding in the brush. I do love the woodpeckers too.

  25. Phillip says:

    Those are the most beautiful birds. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in our garden. 😦

    Hi Philip, they truly are magnificent. They love berries and apparently water to wash them down. πŸ™‚ Cedar berries are their favorites, hence the name. Maybe someday you will get some visitors. Try having water for them.

  26. Catherine says:

    How great it was to read your post and see the pictures. I love hearing that people see that wildlife need food or water and stop what they are doing to help! The waxwings are so pretty. I had no idea they travelled in such large flocks. I know they are in our area, but I’ve never seen one in our yard, let alone anywhere else.

    Hi Catherine, thanks so much. We try and make this garden a safe haven for the birds, especially in winter. This is the first place I have lived where we had the waxwings. Seeing them twice a year makes it a special treat when they come through. Maybe having a water feature would attract them to your yard.

  27. Genevieve says:

    Beautiful, Frances! I wish we had cedar waxwings here – they are so lovely.

    Hi Genevieve, thanks. They are the most unique bird that visits here, and never fails to thrill me.

  28. I can’t even imagine seeing that many Cedar Waxwings in one place, much less have them in the garden. What a treat!

    Hi MMD, it was a treat. Although there are droppings everywhere from so many birds lined up along the gutters and by the pond. Not a problem, but evidence of the numbers of them. Wish you could have seen them.. They are stilla round, but not as many. Maybe the hollies are about cleaned out.

  29. tina says:


    Thanks, Tina.

  30. Thank you so much for the advice. I was fiddling with my blog last night and must have pushed the wrong button! Will fix it ASAP.I have also noted that I need to do a better job of spell checking. Take care . . . K

    Hi Kathryn, glad to help. Sometimes blogger won’t let me comment as wordpress at all, other times it makes me jump through several hoops, this time it just wouldn’t do it at all. I will check back and try again when time permits.

  31. annetanne says:

    Those birds are real beauties. They really look exotic to me!

    Hi Anne, they are truly beautiful, so sleek and the markings so precise. I think they are exotic too.

  32. Dave says:

    Wow that is a throng of waxwings! I’ve never seen more than 4-6 at a time. Beautiful birds. I hope you were able to dodge any more missiles!

    Hi Dave, they were magical. I got hit a couple of times before pulling my hood up. Luckily I was wearing the parka for it was super cold outside. I was trying not to frighten them as I get taking small steps along the wall but just had to put the hood up! HA

  33. Darla says:

    Thank you so much for answering my seedling questions…..YOU ARE THE BOMB!!!

    Hi Darla, it was my pleasure. I don’t really know what that means, but thanks. πŸ™‚

  34. Chloe.M says:

    Wow Frances,

    And I thought I had a lot of birds in my yard!

    Lovely photographs, Cedar Waxwings are some of my favorite friends.

    Chloe M.

    Hi Chloe, thanks. This was a LOT of birds! Not our normal usual suspects of cardinals and chickadees that number in the tens, not the hundreds. I would not want that many around all the time, but it was thrilling as a one time deal. Your baby goats were the sweetest thing I have ever seen. πŸ™‚

  35. Oh, Frances! It sounds corny but your photos of the waxwings getting to the water were so immediate and full of motion that they gave me goosebumps. We’ve only seen these birds a few times here and never at close range. How lucky the birds were to land at Faire Garden.

    I wonder if MayDreams Carol took a peek at this post – the icy head in the birdbath will creep her out, but it’s actually kind of cool!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    (BTW, BLOGGER has a Twitter feed. They tweeted about problems with comment posting and verification letters.)

    Hi Annie, thanks so much. It was very exciting and written right after it happend, the best way for me, anyway. I am so glad you could feel it too, the wings were a flappin’ here. πŸ™‚ I remember Carol not liking faces in the garden and possible commenting on that birdbath in another post. It has been shown a couple of times. I think it is the famous *David*? There has been an ongoing problem with blogger’s word verification the last couple of months, not just today. I thought it was the wordpress thing, blogger hates wordpress and wants me to use the blogger account to comment. I have to fight it on all blogger blogs, a nuisance.

  36. Siria says:

    Hi Frances! I know you must have been thrilled to see all those birds so happy in your pond. How lucky they were to find your beautiful garden.

    Hi Siria, thanks. I was beyond happy about getting so close to the birds with the camera. Today they were still around, but not so many all at once. I think they have about picked those hollies clean. I added water to the pond too. πŸ™‚

  37. Hi Frances~
    The Cedar Waxwing is a very majestic looking bird. I’ve never seen one. They have a very interesting coloring.
    Lucky you!

    Hi Karrita, I was lucky, that’s for sure. I remember seeing pictures of them in books as a child and hoping to see one in person some day. I never dreamed of seeing hundreds! Love you mystery Clarkia too. So glad it was identified for you.

  38. Wow!

    Hi Karen, it was a wow moment. πŸ™‚

  39. Philip says:

    Hi Frances!
    oh I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love cedar waxwings. It is such a delight when they arrive in the garden. You have a nice sized flock. Don’t you just love the images of them by the pond!!!
    So much fun. You know, I bet they have your garden on their cedar waxwing map!
    I know we get regulars coming and going on the pacific flyway. It is a treat if I am there when the waxwings arrive.
    You got some really terrific images.

    Hi Philip, thanks. I love them just as much as you. This is by far the most that have ever come here. It is usually about twenty or thirty, and usually in mid to late March for their spring visit. More dribs and drabs in November. I often wonder how they find our little garden as they fly over. It must be communal knowledge, for they have come every year we have been here, always to the pond. They came two years ago and the pond was being redone. They tried to stuff themselves all in the little birdbath shown. I had to refill it several times each day they were here. The shots were taken less than three feet away, with my camera that is the only way to get a clearer shot. I have been looking at a new one with a 20x zoom, though. πŸ™‚

  40. Les says:

    Paralel worlds. We had them in the yard all weekend. My neighbor has a 20′ ligustrum I wish she would chop down, but the Waxwings have been gorging on her shrub and flitting down to drink from my fish pond’s waterfall. The whole time you hear the falling of black rain all over the backyard, the deck, the roof, the patio furniture, the dogs and me. Today at work I noticed that we had an interacial pack of Robins and Waxwings going every where together. It was the first time I have noticed this pairing.

    Hi Les, we are living in a similar world. The robins are right there with the waxwings in every endeavor. There are blobs of blackish goo with seeds undigested covering every surface. It was warm enough today to hose some of it off the deck. There seems to be less of them now, the hollies are nearly bare so I assume they will move on. It was fun while it lasted.

  41. Steve says:

    Frances, this post is just too cool. I can’t add much except to say you’re a darn good woodland friend to those thirsty birdies. But then, they know that already, don’t they? What a delightful post to read.

    Hi Steve, thanks so much. Talk about delightful read, the Chinese garden paths are the stuff of dreams! I will be back often just to gaze at them.

  42. Brenda Kula says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen that bird. But it’s quite beautiful. I wonder if we just don’t have it here?

    Hi Brenda, I don’t know the range of the waxwings, but only see them rarely here. I had never seen one before in any other place we have lived either. Food and water sources must be provided apparently, then you have to wait for the word to get out to the flock that the restaurant is open! HA

  43. Jean says:

    I just love those guys. Well, not the mess they leave behind but they’re so darn pretty. You were so nice to give them a watering hole. I know what you mean about the “rain” you were feeling!

    Hi Jean, me too. But I can put up with the mess, easily hosed off to see these wonderfully marked birds. Now if they were here all the time in those numbers it might be a different story. πŸ™‚

  44. Darla says:

    It means you are the BEST, at least that’s what my teenagers tell me!!

    Thanks for that, Darla. Learned something new today. πŸ™‚

  45. Wow! I’ve never seen one of these in person, let alone so many! They’re beautiful. Sorry about the “rain”. LOL. Been there, except that it “rained” in my EYE.

    Hi Kylee, Yuck, in the eye! Thanks for stopping by. They usually travel in groups when they come through here, I have never seen just one alone, but not that many. It was a thrilling memorable experience. So glad they let me take photos to remember the scene.

  46. MrBrownThumb says:

    Your birdbath is so cool. IS the head part of the birdbath or did you add it? I wish I could find broken pieces of sculpture or architectural details to add to my garden

    Hi Mr., thanks. The head is a seperate piece of concrete sculpture that I bought at a nursery many years ago. It is propped against a large rock and stays outside all year. The frost/ thaw cycle has not hurt it either. The birds love to sit on it too. It came with just the head, I think it is Michelangelo’s David.

  47. Sweet Bay says:

    Frances those pictures are amazing! What a beautiful post.

    Hi Sweet Bay, thanks. I am in awe of the beautiful trees and plants growing naturally around your garden. πŸ™‚

  48. David Baird says:

    Dave at what a wonder to come across a kindred spirit. Great Site.

    Hi Dave, I normally delete ads disguising themselves as comments but decided to leave yours. The name of my blog is Faire, not Fairie, pronounced like fair with an old English spelling trying to be cutesy pootsy. The slant for my blog is not the same as your business mission statement, but I do support your endeavors. Thanks for visiting.

  49. Lythrum says:

    I saw some feathers floating in my pond over the weekend so I guess I have had some thirsty throngs too. πŸ™‚

    Hi Lythrum, feathers in the pond are a good clue! Way to play detective! πŸ™‚

  50. layanee says:

    They are indeed beautiful! A privilege to watch to be sure. I love that last picture with their little faces so clearly thankful. Well, I think they look thankful anyway. The best things in life are free!

    Hi Layanee, thanks so much. You are so right about the best things being free. That is our motto here, but still we buy things. HA

  51. lynn says:

    TRULY AMAZING PHOTOS….thank you, Frances!!!

    Hi Lynn, thanks. I have to say you have the most spectacular clematis I have ever seen! πŸ™‚

  52. Balisha says:

    I gasped when I saw these pictures. My hubby is on the other computer…he turned around and said, “Are you allright?” We never have had so many here. Lucky you.

    Hi Balisha, thanks, so did I! HA I never know if a photo is any good until I load it on the computer so take as many as possible in that type of situation with the birds letting me get so close. I was clicking as fast as the camera would allow! They are gone now, but the mess to clean up on the deck and wall, but worth every little black blob! πŸ™‚

  53. linda says:

    Wow Frances! That’s alotta birds! How kind of you to provide them the refreshment they were looking for.

    Hi Linda, thanks so much. There were more than I had ever seen. I couldn’t send them away thirsty! πŸ™‚

  54. iona says:

    OMG, what incredible photos. What a pleasure it is to see all those gorgeous birds.

    Hi Iona, thanks and welcome. It was a rare treat to witness so many waxwings so closely. But the hood on my coat had to remain up, for it was raining with bird leavings! HA

  55. cheryl says:

    Beatuful birds and photos Frances ! I had a flock descent on the crab apple tree a week ago and they stripped the leftovers bare. The snow underneath looked like a crime scene, red skins everywhere. They are very rare around here and so welcomed. I love their softness of feather. πŸ™‚

    Hi Cheryl, thanks. They are ravenous when they visit, aren’t they? It looks like a crime scene here too, but it is not the skins of berries! Ours stop by twice a year for a day or two then are gone. Ours left a couple of days ago and I will await their return in the fall with hoodie up.

  56. Oh my Gosh, I am slowly making my way through all the blogs I read. The lucky birds to come into your garden. I hear them squeaking their thanks.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. You would have loved seeing all those waxwings. It was phenomenal. Their cries are quite unique, sort of like a squeak as you say too. It was nosiy and I needed the hood on my jacket to protect me from the dropping *bombs*. πŸ™‚

  57. I obviously forgot to leave you a message though I ‘picked’ this post:) This is amazing, truly! Never, ever have I seen anything like it Frances!

    I posted them too…and I didn’t mention that 8-12 of them fluttered in a large flock right past my son and I as we stood at the kitchen window. That was a WOW moment! That’s when I got out my camera and got the photos I did. I usually keep it at the window but it was in the family rm. so I asked him to stand still while I got the camera. At that point they were all perched on my deck railing and/or on the birdbath. As I got the camera and came back, my son counted down each one as it flew away! By the time I got back there were 3 left. I managed a shot w/2 in it!! Better than nothing, sure!! It would have been magic, truly, to capture the crowd that stopped by in its entirety. Still not as many as yours, but exciting just the same:)

    Hi Jan, thanks. This was a first for me too. Usually there are a good number when they stop through here twice a year, twenty or thirty. This time there were so many and they let me get so close since they were so eager for water and everything was frozen solid. The counting with your son was very special, something he will always remember and tell the story about. Your shots were fantastic!

  58. Your pictures and words are very lovely.

    Thanks Gail, I appreciate your kind words. πŸ™‚

  59. Elizabeth McLeod says:

    Those who love and honor nature are blessed with gifts from nature! That story was amazing…I got goosebumps when I scrolled down and saw how close you were to those masked birds…..we have them here in B.C. from time to time but I have never seen a flock yet….wish I would. Enjoy all the delights from your garden Frances….so pretty and spiritual too

    Thanks, Elizabeth.

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  61. Patty says:

    While reading your posts and enjoying your beautiful pictures of Edgeworthia Chrysantha, I noticed the link to this page. I must say I truly enjoyed your pictures here and the accompanying account of your visitors. I am so jealous! I missed a wonderful photo opp several years ago, when for the first and only time I witnessed these fascinating creatures in my own yard. I was pulling weeds nearby, when they arrived “out of the blue!” Having never seen them before and because there were dozens of them, I was eager to get them on film & capture some close-ups. At the time I was still using a manual SLR with a 150mm zoom, which was my sure fired link to some unforgettable shots. As they perched in my red maple and proceeded to consume all the berries from my Dwarf Burfod Holly hedge, I crouched below with deliberate aim and snapped shot after shot of what I expected to result in some amazing photos that I could enjoy, share and gloat over forever. However, once I completed my mission, I was utterly disappointed to discover that my camera that generally stayed loaded and ready to go, was totally void of film! Of course, the Cedar Waxwings had completed their mission of “defrocking” my shrubs and had departed as abruptly as they had arrived! I look for them every year, but have yet to see them again–now that I have gone digital!

    Oh my, Patty, what a frustrating but oh so well told, story you have shared here, thank you very much! Cameras have certainly lowered the skill set needed for a decent image with these point and shoots digitals, which is how I can take any photos worth sharing, if not gloating over. I was lucky that day, the waxwings have never again been here in those numbers. Perhaps your flock will return and you will be ready this time.

  62. Christy says:

    Hi Frances…I LOVED this post!! How very lucky you were to witness this and be able to get so close to this beautiful bird. That was so kind of you to remove the netting for them!

    Hi Christy, oh yes, luck was with me on that day. It has never happened again, either. I had to remove the netting, poor thirsty birdies!

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