A Drop in the Bucket

Tuesday was a day of Cedar Waxwings.  Wing-loads of waxwings swooped into my garden, water features drawing them in for bathing, trees available for perching.

There were so many birds, it was almost overwhelming. These photos don’t tell the compete story–it was hard to get clear photos with so much activity–but they will give you an idea of the bunches of birds who bathed.

As I’m only adequate with a camera, clear group shots were challenging–at best. These birds rarely sit still and take off en masse when spooked by the slightest movement. I took most photos from indoors through *somewhat* clean windows, rather than becoming the cause of their frights and flights. When Cedar Waxwings visit, sidling outdoors, no matter how stealthily, elicits winged energy upwards and outwards from the garden.

Whoosh! Swoosh!!

So many waxwings…

Like many before them, the waxwings enjoyed the planter saucer for bathing and sipping.

The saucer, originally intended for my dog, mostly performs as a bird bath these days, with occasional slurping by racoons and opossums. Tuesday, it was all birds, all day.

In another part of the garden, this crowd awaited the arrival of Dear Leader.

Along a walkway,

…this bunch milled about, waiting for their turns,

…at this popular wet bar.

Tuesday was a wild day in the garden. Hundreds of these beauties descended on my garden, on and off throughout the morning–hanging out in trees, winging to the waters for swigs and splashes, and mingling with their mates.

Quiet moments happened.

Bird poop happened.

Cedar Waxwings will stay in Central Texas through mid-spring, munching fruit, seeking showers, and socializing with one another. Besides their visits to the popular water features, I expect that their next target in my garden will be the ripe berries on the Burford Holly.

When they come for the berries, I’ll get my hat!

23 thoughts on “A Drop in the Bucket

  1. What amazing, glorious photos. I still can’t quite wrap my mind around so many! They are an extraordinary handsome bird. I wonder if they’ll shelter with you until the weather improves. You certainly have some nice nooks for them to return to if they have to go elsewhere to forage. I had birds still feeding until nearly full dark tonight. I’ll be extra generous with seed until things improve a bit. Stay safe — it’s going to be far worse for you than for us here at the coast, although we’re going to get into the 20s for a time.

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    • Thanks, Linda! They are truly gorgeous birds; I’m always happy to look at one who is sitting still, which they don’t all that often. Interesting that your birds feed until dark, mine seem to wrap it up at about 4, though they have been starting early. I’m trying to keep the birdbaths somewhat liquid, though there is pond water too. I’m not looking forward to the next days and dread what it’ll do to my garden. This freeze, combined with our drought, will really limit pollinator plants, I’m afraid.

      That said, I suspect the native things will be fine. I’m sad about my Mexican Honeysuckle and Mexican Orchid tree–I’ll be grateful if they survive the single digit night(s) and, if they do, won’t see any blooms until next fall, at the earlies. Sniff.

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  2. Beautiful birds and I really like the shots that you got of them while at drinking or waiting their turn.. It looks as if you were prepared for them with several water sources. They can make an awful mess but I don’t mind how messy they are as long as I can have the pleasure of seeing their beauty.

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  3. If the cedar waxwings are at your bird bath today it’d likely be for skating rather than drinking. We were coming home a few weeks ago and happened upon a flock of cedar waxwings attacking a yaupon. I stopped, put on a telephoto lens, and did my best to photograph the flock, but as you said, the almost constant motion made pictures difficult. Also, as you show in your group pictures, the birds wouldn’t all simultaneously face the camera; how inconsiderate of them. You did well with your solo portrait at the end.

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    • I’ve boiled water several times today, to keep things liquid, but it doesn’t last long, that’s for sure. The pond is fine, the bog doesn’t have any ice, but that might change as we get colder.

      I’m chuffed that you liked the photos–they’re hard to get when there’s so much action, but don’t CWW make pretty pictures?

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  4. Tina on Tuesday the Cedar Waxwings invaded every corner of your garden, they took over it, I love it !! The photos are magnificent. They are divine, precious and gorgeous birds, I love them. What a huge amount bathing at the same time, it’s incredible, I love it As they drink together from the saucer in the planter: they have taken possession of it. How funny how they queue to drink at “this popular wet bar” as Tina so well put it. You will have more visits until mid-spring, put your hat on! Tina I loved your blog. Take good care of your husband and you and keep yourself safe. Have a good weekend. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

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      • Tina today Sunday is not cold during the day and finally we have sun. Last week it was cold and next week the weather will be churning. Tina I hope you have good weather for Austin and no cold. Take care. Have a very good week. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

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      • It’s very cold here, Margarita: we’ve been below freezing since Thursday afternoon, it’s hovering around 25F (-4C) and will be in single digits tonight and tomorrow night. I don’t think we’ll be above freezing until Wednesday or Thursday. Poor plants! Have a good week!

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  5. Your photos are excellent! Cedar waxwings are so beautiful–we tend to have large flocks of them in the spring when our crabapple trees are in bloom. Their song is so high-pitched that my husband can’t even hear it. Special birds, for so many reasons.

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