Saturday, October 31, 2015

Cedar Waxwing

Yesterday, Erika and I happened upon a large flock of Cedar Waxwings feeding on what we assume to be honeysuckle in the Carleton College arboretum. When I see waxwings, my mind always wanders to the poem that begins Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire:

 I was the shadow of the waxwing slain
By the false azure in the windowpane;
I was the smudge of ashen fluff--and I
Lived on, flew on, in the reflected sky.

Many birds hit windows. Waxwings propensity for these fatal events are augmented by their fondness for fruiting bushes, which are often grown in suburban lawns. Waswings are also known to become drunk from consuming fermented berries. I suspect one should not fly under the influence.
On October 16, 2009, the first post in this blog dealt with waxwing tail feathers. I have published other posts about the “waxy” tips to some waxwing wing feathers. These structures occur on both sexes, adults and immatures, but not on all individuals. Notice that this waxwing is atypical because of the wax tips on both the secondaries and secondary coverts. Click on the following links to see my other waxwing posts: July 11, 2010, October 23, 2011, October 18, 2013, June 6, 2014, November 24, 2014, August 15, 2015.

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