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Friday, March 16, 2012

Birdie Blitzkreg in die Oaks Faire

Last Sunday morning, the Hens - of the human persuasion - mentioned how chock full o' berries the Hawthorn tree was. I told them I was not looking forward to the b'jillion volunteer baby trees that were going to invade my yard. As far as I could tell, the Cedar Waxwings were forsaking my yard and ignoring their duty- eating the Hawthorn Berries.

How wrong I was! On Tuesday morning I heard a THWOP on the living room window. Looking out there were at least 75 Cedar Waxwings - more than I've ever seen in the tree all at once - wolfing down berries - a birdie Blitzkrieg.

Cedar Waxwing Invasion

For a half hour the huge flock flew onto the tree, as usual, beginning from the tree top. Only when the top branches were bare did they move lower, then lower... and lower.

All agreed, the Hawtorn was having a vintage year
After about an hour, the Waxwings took off and I thought the cropping of the Hawthorn was done for the year. I was wrong. Wednesday morning I woke to a chorus of bird song. When I went outside to let my hens out, there were flocks of Cedar Waxwings zipping through the air, each flock holding at least a hundred birds each. The Hawthorn attack was in full Blitzkrieg motion - berries disappeared as I watched, and photographed the action in amazement.
The wet head look is in this season
It rained and that didn't stop those wet headed Waxwings. They kept going even though their little topknots were a little droopy. After a couple of hours the they were - first time in my memory - in the bottom quarter of the tree, gulping berry after luscious berry.

"Huh... so where'd all the berries go?"
By 11AM the Hawthorn was visibly bereft of berries. The few remaining Waxwings hunted what few dozen berries were left. I have never seen the Waxwings so low in the tree before - some of them were only about 3 feet from the ground, nabbing those last few berries. What hungry birds! No clue why so many birds this year. Did the crops fail in the far north causing more Canadian Waxwings to drop further south than usual? Or was it coincidence so many birds just happened to invade my neighborhood this year?

And they striped their cupboard bare
In the photo above, dead center, and looking like a squarish smeer, is a web stickie for the window, and just below it is a hawk sticky -both state of the art and neither kept waxwings from colliding with my picture window.

The Waxwings weren't the only birds busy either. Over in the Trident Maples by the back fence, at least 25 American Robins sat. Although I did see a few of them eating Hawthorn berries, they were far more interested in the dark blue ivy berries that cover the Ivy-From-Hell that overgrows the wooden fence on the south side of my property. Stupid Ivy! I'd be happy the Robins eat the berries except I KNOW they will be dropping colon-treated ivy seeds all over the place - if you get my drift. It's always sad when good birds meet bad invasive species.

My yard squirrel was at work too, trying to get berries before the Waxwings could suck them all down.

Squirrel: "Damned competition... bet those buggers are all Canadian Waxwings too. Stupid immigrants..."

Poor little fluff butt: I didn't have the heart to inform it that all the local Fox Squirresl are immigrants too. Sensitive subject you know.

The other immigrant competition

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