Saturday, January 28, 2006

Other winter residents

Cedar Waxwing -- November 2003
Photo by Cal Vornberger

I post a lot of stuff about owls here. It may give the impression that there's nothing else of interest in Central Park these days. Not so. Here's a report from someone who took a brief break from owl-watching to observe other winter birds in the park.

Bob Levy reports [on e-birds 1/27/06]:

I visited the site where two gray morph Screech-Owls are cohabitating but I arrived too late to find them.

Earlier I had what I think is another treat worthy of attention. There was a flock of Cedar Waxwings feeding in a Hawthorn Tree on the northwestern edge of the Great Lawn at about 3:30 PM. Even with another birder’s help we found it hard to count them all but we thought there were twenty-five
to thirty. Among the waxwings were three male and one female House Finches and a lone American Robin.

The different shades of red on the birds were especially striking against the brilliant red of the berries. Those berries, by the way, were the same color as the waxy red marks at the tips of the older Cedar Waxwing’s secondary flight feathers. Since there are still a lot of berries on this tree it would be worth your while to check it out yourself. It is likely the Cedar Waxwings and House Finches will be there until the food is gone.

Oh, there was another thing. At least twice a Red-tailed Hawk did a flyover that made the Cedar Waxwings, American Robin and nearby Tufted Titmice, Black-capped Chickadees and White-breasted Nuthatches run for cover until it passed out of range. However the House Finches were never distracted from their feeding, not for a second, as far as we could tell.