Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Flock of cedar waxwings

with 20 comments

Click for greater clarity.

Click for greater clarity.

When I was driving home on Floral Park Dr. on the morning of February 26th, something similar to what occurred last October happened in almost the same place, except that instead of a single vulture on the arm of a street light I spotted a flock of cedar waxwings, Bombycilla cedrorum, high up in some bare treetops. I continued home, got my crop-sensor EOS 7D, put on my longest lens, and went back to the spot where I’d seen the birds. Some flew away upon my arrival, but enough stayed put for me to take a few pictures. This photograph included more cedar waxwings than you see here, but I’ve zoomed in so that even at this small picture size you can better see some of the features of these bright birds.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 12, 2013 at 6:20 AM

20 Responses

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  1. Great shot of wonderful birds, thanks MJ


    March 12, 2013 at 8:30 AM

  2. awesome!


    March 12, 2013 at 9:15 AM

  3. So lovely. I think I’ve only seen them once here in Dallas.

    Mind Margins/Run Nature

    March 12, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    • And I think this is only the second time I’ve knowingly seen any here, too. Luckily I managed to get photographs both times.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 12, 2013 at 2:25 PM

  4. I do love these birds. They came through here three years in a row. They stayed only about a week, if that long, ate everything in sight and spent their time mostly in the cypress trees. They haven’t been back since, or I’ve missed them. I love their little “masks” – they look like a band of bandits.


    March 12, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    • The first time I saw them they were possumhaw bandits, sweeping in and out for the fruit. When I went back the next day, not one drupe remained on the tree.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 12, 2013 at 2:27 PM

  5. I, too, love these birds. It is fun to watch them pass berries back and forth, all the while murmuring amongst themselves. What a great shot!


    March 12, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    • I’ve heard of them passing little fruit back and forth in the way you described but I’ve never witnessed it. Maybe someday.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 12, 2013 at 2:29 PM

  6. Whouaohhhh qu’est-ce qu’ils sont beaux ces oiseaux et un groupe comme ça, c’est impressionnant. Un beau partage.


    March 12, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    • Ton commentaire me rappelle ces vers de La Fontaine:

      “Que vous êtes joli! Que vous me semblez beau!
      Sans mentir, si votre ramage
      Se rapporte à votre plumage,
      Vous êtes le phénix des hôtes de ces bois.”

      Là il s’agissait d’un corbeau et d’un renard, cette fois-ci d’un jaseur d’Amérique et d’un photographe du Texas.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 12, 2013 at 2:39 PM

  7. What a funny coincidence that one bird looks he has two tails and another looks like she has two heads. We had a flock of drunk waxwings (from rotted and fermented berries) up at our cottage on Georgian Bay. Funniest thing I’ve ever seen. Great shot, Steve, and thanks for cheering me up every day with the sights of spring. It’ll get here eventually.

    Joan Leacott

    March 12, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    • That’s a good observation about the two tails and two heads. I’ve heard about birds getting drunk from fermented fruit but I’ve never witnessed it. I wonder if the birds’ condition would make it easier or harder to photograph them.

      Good cheer to you up north. As you’ve seen, we’ve been in spring mode for some time. It’s been cool by our standards, but I think you’d find it wonderful by yours (it’s warmed up to 73° now at the warmest part of the day). I saw my first spiderwort flowers of the season a few hours ago.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 12, 2013 at 4:43 PM

  8. We had cedar waxwings come through about two weeks ago – there must have been 30 or 40 of them in the trees by the mall (which was full of red berries). They’re so pretty, but don’t stay around. We hadn’t seen them migrating through before.



    March 12, 2013 at 8:01 PM

    • That’s what I’ve been hearing from other people, that the cedar waxwings don’t stay around long. How inconsiderate of those birds.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 12, 2013 at 10:09 PM

  9. Just love those birds. Every now and then I’ve seen a little group of them, but never was able to get a shot that showed more than one or two. Nice to see.

    Susan Scheid

    March 12, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    • Similarly, the last time I had a chance with cedar waxwings, about three years ago, I could only photograph one at a time. In compensation, though, I was a lot closer, and I got a picture of one right in the act of swallowing a possumhaw drupe.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 12, 2013 at 10:12 PM

  10. A very impressive shot.


    March 17, 2013 at 6:24 AM

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