Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Waxwings, waxwings, waxwings and a hawk

Though the Great Horned Owl remained in the park yesterday, he [or she] was hard to photograph. The photographers returned to their favorite subject: Cedar Waxwings.
Photo by David Speiser who wrote:

I finally tracked down the Cedar Waxwings today. They were just settling in for a meal when an immature Red-tailed Hawk flushed the flock. The Waxwings did not return.

Immature Red-tailed Hawk 11/17/09
Photo by David Speiser

Above, the same photo I posted on 11/9, taken by Beth Bergman.
A few days later a frequent Central Park birdwatcher now living in Maine wrote me:

Hi Marie,

The photo of the cedar waxwing in head- on position shows the bird with a berry that looks way too big for it to swallow. It always amazes me that down goes the berry, no problem at all. Volunteering at Avian Haven, a wild bird rehabilitation center in Maine, has given me many opportunities to feed cedar waxwing nestlings so I know they manage much larger pieces of fruit or berries than I often feel comfortable feeding them! What is interesting to watch is when injured adult birds are put in the enclosures with the babies, they readily will take the berries from the tweezers in rapid succession and then regurgitate them one at a time to feed the young ones themselves. The berries reappear in their beaks just like magic! Fledglings often line up along a perch to beg and will pass a berry from bird to bird before one swallows it. Watching this food-sharing kind of behavior makes it one of my favorite species of bird to tweezer-feed!

Hope all is well with you and everyone who keeps track of all the CP bird happenings!

Amy in Rockport Maine

PS from Marie:
Maybe so much berry-gobbling requires frequent whistle-wetting by the waxwings.

Murray Head took the picture below yesterday and provided the caption:

Cedar Waxwings wetting their beaks in a puddle south of The Great Lawn.