Stuck in the Garage

During the Cedar Waxwing feeding frenzy from the previous post, one of the birds took a detour into the open garage and became stuck.  It is perched on top of the light.

I am very strict with my family and don’t allow them to leave the doors open, but today it was me doing gardening chores and being too lazy to walk around to the small door.

Waxwings, like most birds, only think about flying up to escape.  After chasing this bird around for awhile, I had to come up with another plan.  I cut a branch of holly berries and situated it near the open door and left for a while.  (I did saturate this photo to show the berries.)  Later when I came back, I saw my plan worked and the Waxwing was free.

The next day I went out to run errands and was puzzled for a moment as to why there were red bird droppings on my windshield.  Of course, it was from the Cedar Waxwing that was stuck in the garage the day before.


Cedar Waxwings Feeding Frenzy

We recently spent an afternoon watching Cedar Waxwings descend upon a holly bush loaded with red berries.

The Cedar Waxwings are beautiful birds with their black masks and pale yellow belly.  This photo caught the red tips on this one’s wing.  The birds have a bright yellow tip on their tails.

There were probably more than 50 individuals in this flock.  They arrived in waves, occasionally taking breaks.  The Waxwings had already stripped a nearby holly.  Earlier in the winter they ate all the berries from the native Yaupon Holly trees in the yard.

They were so eager to feed that they flew closely over our heads and under the front porch.  A few hit the windows, but survived.

Across the street a large flock of American Robins had been gathering and one finally came over to check out the action.


Cedar Waxwings

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Timing is everything.  As I was preparing my posts on Holly Trees, the Cedar Waxwings arrived to feast on the berries.  I was alerted of the birds presence by my resident birds.  The Cardinals, Titmice, Chickadees and Carolina Wrens gathered to check out the visitors.  (click to enlarge)

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Luckily, the birds stayed long enough that I could get the camera and switch lenses.  Waxwings fly off at the slightest disturbance.  The photos are highly cropped as it was hard to get very close.

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I was very pleased to get an almost perfect shot of this beautiful Cedar Waxwing.


Ilex vomitoria

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Notice the second part of this tree’s botanical name.  What does that word bring to mind?  Yes, the name comes with a big warning.  If you eat the berries, the result is not pretty.

We know this tree as Yaupon Holly and is another native of the Piney Forest. Yaupons usually have skinny trunks and grow just about anywhere, as between these two pines. Like the American Tree Holly in the previous post, it makes tiny flowers in the spring with the berries forming quickly.  It is a small tree and will spread by root.  Most consider it a weed tree.

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But it has many hidden secrets, besides what happens when humans eat the berries.  Its flowers are a food source for bees.  Cardinals dine on the berries and  flocks of Cedar Waxwings devour them.  Now for humans, we can make tea from the leaves which contain caffeine and antioxidants (make sure you do research before eating it). With a name like vomitoria, I think I will skip the tea!


Sugar Bird

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Ruby-crowned Kinglets enjoy a sugary treat now and again.  Usually they feed on insects, but apparently cannot resist something sweet.  The Hummingbird has taken issue with the Kinglet using the feeder and has been chasing him away.

Today the feeders in the garden were very busy.  A storm is coming in tomorrow and maybe the birds know it is on the way.  Some new visitors were a large flock of Red-winged Blackbirds.  The females did come out of the treetops to the feeders.  A small flock of Cedar Waxwings were eyeing ripening red berries.  Of course, the regulars were all chowing down and the feeders had to be filled twice today.


A Spring Day

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There is nothing more wonderful than garden surprises.  This was blooming in a patch of Walking Iris.  It has never bloomed before and where it came from is a mystery.

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With more buds, it will be blooming for days to come.

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An early spring bloomer.  It has a scent and the bees love it.

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This plant has a sprawling habit, but is a reliable bloomer even after a freeze.  Unfortunately, its name has been lost.  Any help identifying these two would be appreciated.

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Cedar Waxwings also visited the Automatic Garden today.  They took time out from eating red berries for something tasty on this Bradford Pear.

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This Kalnachoe was purchased in a grocery store two years ago.  It came with an expiration date and has survived long after its time.  The plant became leggy, so it was trimmed and cuttings were stuck in a pot.  Now it is more beautiful than before.

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Another garden surprise showed up.  These Johnny Jump-Ups reseeded themselves.  In the Automatic Garden the soil is rarely disturbed and it allows plants to self-sow.