Thursday, January 31, 2013

Where Are They?

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Early in December every year I start watching out for the arrival of Cedar Waxwings and American Robins. They usually start showing up by the score in our neighborhood and in flocks of hundreds elsewhere in our area. For example, on the CyFair campus we normally see flocks of 100+ Robins and much larger flocks of Cedar Waxwings - often as large as 300-600 birds.

So far, this winter has produced comparatively few sightings of either species, and the sightings that have been reported have generally been of flocks of no more than 20-30 birds. This is no doubt because milder weather further north has meant the birds haven't needed to migrate as far south as usual.

This January I had seen a dozen or so Waxwings on the campus a couple of times before yesterday and only a solitary Robin on one occasion. So I was pleased when I took a quick walk down to the Nature Trail in the afternoon and had a quick glimpse of three Robins.


I was even more pleased when a couple of Cedar Waxwings flew in to a nearby tree.


I'm now hoping that the cold front approaching southeast Texas will push more of these beautiful birds into our area.

BTW, I'm sorry the photos aren't better but the birds were at quite a distance and the wind was whipping the trees around. If you want to see better much pictures of Waxwings at the college, just type "Waxwings" into the Search box at the top left of this page and then look at the first two posts that appear.

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7 comments:

Dorothy Borders said...

I've had Cedar Waxwings around for a few weeks but only in small numbers, usually less than 20, and just last week the robins started showing up. My roll of winter birds is now just about complete. No Orange-crowned Warblers though.

Dina said...

Love the waxwing shots! That one with the berry is perfect. I've seen robins here in Florida but no waxwings yet.

Jeff said...

Thanks, Dina. I love to watch them passing berries to each other as a pair bonding behavior.

Jeff said...

It's odd you don't have any Orange-crowned, Birdwoman. We have had several for a couple of months. The biggest thrill, though, is that we still have the Brown-headed Nuthatch which arrived early this month. They're at Kleb Woods and in Tomball but I never thought I'd see one at our house.

Michele Leslie Potter said...

Not to be alarmist, but I just had my first year volunteering in the orphaned baby bird nursery at a Seattle area wildlife center. All summer people kept saying: "wait until you see the cedar waxwing babies, they are adorable!" but in the end we hardly got any...

Jeff said...

That doesn't sound good, Michele.

Michele Leslie Potter said...

No. Again it was my first year doing it, but from what I understand we had a very light year as far as the baby bird nursery goes overall. I was able to work my shift alone and easily finish on time, when in year's past there would be two volunteers. That said we had an incredibly cold spring in Seattle (and that is saying something), summer didn't really begin in earnest until mid to late july and it was cooler overall. Some people thought that fewer people were outside to find orphaned birds and bring them in... and the berry season started late, which of course is what cedar waxwings need. It will be interesting to see how this year compares.