Its a cold, wintery morning...the perfect weather for a brisk walk. The atmosphere is quiet, except for our voices and the chatter and trills of birdsong and the squirrels chirring to us a word of warning.
Then something makes us stop and listen...what is it? A strange, wheezy call comes from a tree loaded with frost-laden, glistening ruby red berries. "Zreee!" Just then a sleek, tan colored bird resembling a jay comes into view! Its beautiful light colored plumage is a stark contrast to the bold, black bandit-like facial markings. But this berry-bandit sees no reason to flee and continues to greedily gobble down one berry after another, as we watch in wonderment.
As we stand still, just observing the scene, suddenly, two, three and four more of these beautiful creatures appear, until the tree seems to be alive with them! These lovely birds are none other than the beautiful Cedar Waxwings - gathering for a feast amongst the red berries!
This scene has been repeated many times over in our neighborhood each fall and winter. When the berries are ripe and juicy and even when they're past their prime, they are never refused by our feathered friends! Watching the waxwings and robins feasting in the tree in our front yard is one of my favorite things about fall and winter, which is why I chose this species for this month's edition of In Scope...
Did you know...
Attracting Cedar Waxwings
Though Cedar Waxwings are not feeder visitors, it is quite simple to draw a flock of them to your yard with the simple addition of berry producing plants. Below is a list of just a few of their favorite plants, although just about any fruit producer will do!
Sweet or sour Cherries
and many more!
Zoom In: Species Profile
The Cedar Waxwing's scientific name is Bombycilla cedrorum. This medium sized bird is 6 1/2 to 8 inches long. Both male and female look alike. Their plumage is a light brown-tannish color, with black face mask, yellow tipped tail and waxy hard tips on their wing feathers.
The voice of the Cedar Waxwing is a wheezy, almost nasal 'tseeee!' or 'zrreeeee!' call.
The preferred habitats of the Cedar Waxwing are wooded areas and orchards, as well as neighborhood yards and gardens. The Cedar Waxwing's nest consists of a chunky cup made of sticks and grass, placed in a tree. Their nest is usually not well hidden, instead being rather conspicuous compared to the nests of other birds. The female lays 4-6 grayish-blue eggs with dark speckles.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, the Cedar Waxwing is a year round resident. Across other parts of North America, they can be found in the spring and summer all across Canada, year round in the Northern to Central U.S. and wintering in the southern U.S.
Blessed are all who fear the Lord, Who walk in obedience to Him. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.
- Psalm 128:1-2 NIV
As we get the New Year off to a good start, I thought it appropriate in closing to contemplate and reflect on the blessings God gives. Just like the Cedar Waxwing enjoys the beatiful red berries that grow in abundance each year, even in the depths of winter, so we too can experience God's blessing when we walk in obedience to Him like Psalm 128 says. Its true that the Lord is good to all He has made, Psalm 145:9 says so:
"The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made."
- Psalm 145:9 NIV
But there's nothing like the blessings that the Father bestows on His children - in every area of life. And the bountiful gift of His Presence on our lives is something I pray I'll always cherish. Anyone can experience this kind of abundant living - because Jesus came to give us just that!
In John 10:10 Jesus said, "The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)." If you don't know Jesus and would like to, please visit the Knowing Jesus link at the top of this page.
I hope all of you and yours have a blessed New Year! God bless you!
By, Jessi Wasell