.The other day someone asked me which is the most beautiful bird I've ever seen. I didn't know what to say, because there are so many beautiful species out there. Now, if they had asked which is the most elegant bird, I wouldn't have hesitated. To my eyes one species stands out above all the others when it comes to elegance: the Cedar Waxwing.
We currently have a small flock of Waxwings on the CyFair campus and I was watching them the other day as they foraged through some Chinese Tallow trees. They were too nervous for me to approach very close but my new lens let me get some reasonably clear photos as they perched high up in the trees.
Even Waxwings can't be elegant all the time, though. Sometimes they just have to sacrifice elegance to give an ear a good scratch.
And a good scratch might have to be followed up with a nice shaking up of those beautiful feathers.
But then it's back to being a fashion plate again.
Bonding BehaviorIf you watch a group of Waxwings for a while, you'll notice that some of the birds are clearly in pairs. And in each of the pairs one bird will pick a berry, the partner will "beg" and the first bird will pass the berry over in what is obviously a bonding routine.
Of course, the feeding of one adult by another is a behavior that many bird species indulge in: We often see the male Northern Cardinals in our yards passing sunflower seeds to their partners, who then invariably eat the seeds. However, when I was watching the Waxwings on the campus, I noticed that their bonding display sometimes goes a step further. On several occasions, one bird passed a berry to its partner and then, rather than eating it, the second bird passed the berry back. So at least with Waxwings the bonding ritual isn't always a one-way street.