Monday, January 5, 2015

Waxwings Finally Show Up En Masse...A Counting Exercise

It has been 23 days since I started monitoring for waxwings using Mountain Ash (Sorbus) trees in the neighborhood. Today I did not drive the 4 mile circuit, simply looked out the kitchen window. Yep, noted a large group of waxwing atop neighbors tall poplar tree. This is usually the scenario, large group of waxwings, when around, usually roost in these tall trees (tallest in the neighborhood). My reasoning for this behavior; Merlin (Falco columbarius) follow these birds around and the waxwings want a good vantage point for safety.

Not only is the mass of birds fun to see, but the cacophony of sound (link from All About Birds [Cornell Lab of Ornithology] website) is distinct.

Here's what the birds look like in flight. Note in poor light/at a distance they look like starlings. Closer examination and you will note the longer non-triangular wings. They land in waves in the treetop and not in a tight bunch or all close together. So how many birds are there?