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Posts Tagged ‘Bombycilla cedrorum’

Recently I served as the assistant for a fellow photographer Cindy Dyer as she shot some portraits in her studio. I had never before participated in that kind of a venture and I was a little shocked by the amount of coaching that the subject needed to ensure a proper head position, body position, and expression. Apparently most of us do not know how to act “naturally” in a way that will yield a goof portrait.

Fortunately many birds do not require these instructions. On Monday of this week, this Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) took a break from its foraging and seemed to be posing for me.  The bird decided that a profile shot would be good to show of its distinctive eye mask and that any hint of a double chin could be eliminated by slightly elongating its neck. Although the Cedar Waxwing tried to maintain a serious expression, I think I detect the beginning of a tiny smile.

Cedar Waxwing

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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A small flock of Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) was active last week at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. They stayed high in the trees, but I did manage to get this shot of one of these distinctive and very cool-looking birds as they foraged among the plentiful berries.

Cedar Waxwing

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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It was pretty cool yesterday morning to see a small flock of Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) foraging at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. One of them was using gravity to help it ingest a berry that it had managed to found. If you look closely, you can see what appears to be the bird’s tongue.

It seemed to take a bit of effort, adjusting ever so slightly the head and mouth, but eventually the beautiful little bird was able to get the whole berry into its mouth. In many ways, it was similar to watching a Great Blue Heron swallow a fish, albeit on a greatly reduced scale.

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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As I was trekking about at Huntley Meadows Park on Saturday, I was thrilled to spot this Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum), a species that don’t see very often at the park. Normally when I do see one, it is buried in the branches or is far away, but this bird posed for a moment on a branch and I was able to get an unobstructed shot of it. The Cedar Waxwing was in the shade, but its silhouette is unmistakable and I could identify it immediately.

Cedar Waxwing

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Today was cloudy, windy, and overcast—definitely not an ideal day for taking photos. Sure, I like to have some clouds to cut down on harsh shadows, but you need sunlight to have shadows, and we sure did not have much of that today.

This afternoon I was walking on a path along a creek when small flock of birds flew into some nearby trees. They were pretty noisy and that attracted my attention. Looking though my telephoto zoom lens, I saw that they had an interesting silhouette, so I took some shots. They sky was already really light, but when I tweaked the exposure a little it went totally white and a really cool-looking bird emerged from the shadows. Usually I am pretty bad at identifying birds, but my initial Google search on the very distinctive yellow wing tips was successful in identifying this bird as a Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum).

Cedar Waxwing on a branch

According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cedar Waxwings feed on mostly fruit year-round, one of the few North American birds that specialize in eating fruit. One of the consequences of doing so, however, is that they sometimes get intoxicated from eating fermenting berries. The range map for this species suggests that they may be present year-round in this area (we are close to the northern boundary), but this is the first time that I have seen one.

This photo is more “artsy” than realistic, but I like its graphic character. It looks a bit to me like an illustration, in part, I guess, because of the white background.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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