Friday, February 27, 2009

Jan's Winter Backyard Bird Series: #6

This winter, I have seen and photographed a wide variety of birds in my own backyard.

Here is Mrs. Pileated Woodpecker:

She stops by to eat from my suet holder or just to peck (hammer!) away at my trees.
She hasn't done any real damage overall, so I am still pleased to see her when she wants to drop in. Sometimes she'll bring along Mr. Pileated, and that can sound a little like a construction project!
Next, is Mr. (or Mrs?) Crow. He definitely is not my favorite, but since his visits are rare, I'm ok with him stopping by. Sometimes he hangs out here with his friends and they can be quite noisey.

One of the most intriguing birds, to me, is the Cedar Waxwing. Mr. and Mrs. Cedar Waxwing are both virtually the same color, so it is very hard to distinguish one from the other. Many birds have this feature (see Crow, above). However, it does seem more common--in the 'colorful' bird category, that is--for the male to stand out more than the female.
Below, a Waxwing drinks from the birdbath...
posing so nicely, with the red on the wing and the yellow on the tail like paint on the tips of paintbrushes. I just had to snap this lovely bird twice (although you know I took about 1,000 million shots to get these good ones:)

Below, a younger--though not a 'juvenile'--Waxwing turns to look around. The red-tips aren't as visible until the bird begins to age. In time, this bird will look as if it's wings were dipped in red paint, too.

Stay tuned for more photos in my Winter Backyard Birds Series, 2008-2009.
--I'm thankful, as always, for my feathered friends.


  1. Love your photogenic visitors, Jan - but my favorite pileated woodpecker is missing for me on this post :( Wishing you a delightful weekend!

  2. Jan, how nice!! I had no idea about the Cedar Waxwings and the color on the wing and tail tips. My newly learned fact for the day! Your GBBC list is pretty impressive. The Pileated is around here, rarely though. He is a treat to see!

  3. Hi Jan~
    Beautiful birds! The waxwing bird is so cool looking!

  4. The cedar waxwing is such a pretty marked bird. They have so many colors on them with the red tipped wings and yellow tipped tail feathers. I wish we had some living here.

  5. Such pretty birds! Never seen any
    like those before...

  6. I am planting some things to bring those beautiful fellows around my place this year. You captured them very well. Keep them coming.

  7. I love your feathered friends too. So nice to have visitors in the winter especially. Thanks for your photos. Lovely.~~Dee

  8. Those waxwings are really something special!

  9. Jan,
    Your photos are stunning! I just love the Waxwings, too. I think they look like porcelain figures. So smooth and perfectly painted.

    I read somewhere that some of them can eat certain berries that make their yellow stripes orange. Not sure that I've ever seen that, but they aren't a daily visitor here -- they come and go.


  10. Your waxwings are so good. what do you have to do? Just sit around the whole day waiting for them to appear?

  11. The waxwings are so pretty. I've never seen one in person before. I think they are out here, just not in my yard.
    I feel the same about crows. If they are passing through or hang out for a day I don't mind. They kind of take over otherwise.
    For some reason the first two pictures wouldn't show up for me. I'll see if I come back later if I can see them.

  12. Oh Jan! Cedar Waxwings have been on my mind this week and how incredibly well you've captured them here. I need some photography lessons from you!

    I was out walking last week and noticed them on a tree with berries on it. Went back today with camera in hand but not a one was on that tree. And I believe I've seen them in the thickets lately too. I need to read up on them. I think they're on a migratory path on their way through but not sure. Do you have them all winter long? How lucky you are! Fabulous shots.

    You have likely shared it somewhere in your blog but can you tell me what camera you use? You certainly get marvelous results, you talented lady. Thank you for sharing with us.

  13. I am enthralled with your wax wings. Apparently we don't get them here. I've been here nearly four years. Have to look this up in my East Texas bird guide.

  14. The Cedar Waxwings (old and young) are a delight! I will have to squint more closely at ours in CA--I don't recall the colored tips but thanks to you I know what to look for.

  15. What a treat to have both the Pileated Woody and the Waxwings,and you've captured them so well. These are two we haven't seen here. I did catch a glimpse of a Pileated pecking at the base of our maple years ago. Sure wish another one would show up. I know they're out there in the woods.
    The waxwings are such beautiful birds with their gorgeous colors and markings.

  16. Hmmm, for some reason I can't see the woodpeckers either. But the waxwings are beautiful!

    Hope you weren't put off by my post about paper pots being so superior to peat pots. Such a nice comment you made. I do have one bit of advice though... When you plant your peat pots be sure to tear off the top part of the pot so that none of it extends above the soil line. Like the paper pots, any exposed part of the peat pot will wick moisture out of the soil if it is left exposed. You know, there's a reason that they still sell them, because they work for a lot of people. Hope your seed starting adventure is a joyful one!

  17. Like porcelain, polished, almost too beautiful to be real... I love your photos, Jan.

    I have to ditto Ann: what camera are you using? It must have a powerful zoom. Your posts are always so enjoyable. Blessings.

  18. What great shots of your Cedar Waxwings. I've never had the luck to see any here.
    Can't see the Pileated Woodpecker photos either.

  19. Hi Jan, your photos are exquisite as always. I love seeing the birds up close in your pictures since they don't let us get close enough to study them in real life. Even with binoculars it is not the same. I love the young waxwing, so cute!

  20. Hi Jan

    Lovely bird photos as always,
    I have problem with my blog It´s difficult for anyone to get in on the blog, but if you want to visit me you can write in.
    I must live my new computer to someone that can fix it.

    Have a nice evening


  21. The colors of the Waxwing birds is amazing.

    Thanks for sharing your pics.

  22. Hi Jan, I am thankful YOU can take such amazing bird photos! :-)

    By the way, though. The first couple of photos wouldn't show for me today.

  23. We have Pileateds here too. They are magnificent birds, aren't they? They remind me of Pterodactyls, only they are beautiful.

    I couldn't see your Pileated pictures though. The only thing that came up were little red x's.

    Love your Cedar Waxwing pictures!

  24. Thank you, bird watchers, for stopping by!!
    I am not sure why so many of you cannot view the first photos of the pileated woodpecker. I even cut down the number of posts on my page to 3 to allow the page to load quicker. If that doesn't help then I really do not know what happened. I'm very sorry about that:(

  25. I did re-publish this post and added another Pileated Woodpecker photo...perhaps one of these shows now??

    As for my camera, I'm a novice, really. I got it last yr for my birthday. It's a Nikon D40X and my 'long' lens is a Nikkor 70-300mm. It works for me...but is certainly not 'the best'. You can get a camera for less $$ which is probably even better:) Thanks for the compliments!!

  26. Jan, your photos are fantastic. We have cedar waxwings migrate thru (not yet this year) and they are some of my favorites. Though ours don't have the blue or the dipped-paint-tail that yours have. They are just beautiful.

  27. You have so many colourful beautiful birds over there - and you take fantastic photos of them. The waxwing is so pretty with these red dipped wings. I can't wait to see more!

    Thanks for your really nice comment on my post about my garden. It is still not that gorgeous, since the plants are only 2 years old. But I hope it will be, soon =).

  28. Hi Jan, bird photos have become one of my favorite things to scope out on blogs and the close-up you have of the waxwing's red and yellow tips are amazing!
    I finally figured out how to load the "Follow" widget and you were my first so thank you!
    How goes those seeds you started?

  29. Thanks as usual for sharing the lovely birds that visit your back yard! I just love seeing them. Someday I hope to have visitors just like them.

  30. Jan,

    My feed in down I changed it at blotanical and I might be out of a feed for a few days.

    Anyway stunning photos of the Pileated Woodpecker and waxwings at your water station awesome. We had a Red-shouldered Hawk waiting for frogs on a willow limb today.

  31. Hi Jan!

    I always enjoy looking at your awesome bird pics! Twenty days until spring! Yay!

  32. Hi Jan

    Your photos are really good.

    That woodpecker is something else. Beautiful red cap


  33. Jan, I am SO jealous!! I have always wanted a Pileated Woodpecker to visit my suet feeder. I caught a brief glimpse of one once as he flew from a tree in my backyard. I began to envision that it was an Ivory Bill, and I would become famous when Bill Thompson
    and his team of birding experts came to check out my claim...ahhh anyway, we can dream can't we? LOL
    I have also never seen a cedar waxwing, although they are around here one has never visited me. They are lovely birds.
    I enjoyed this post. Have a great day!!

  34. Jan,
    As they are for you, our feathered friends are a constant source of joy and inspiration. You have some very nice captures.

  35. Great captures, Jan. You know that my favorite bird here is the Pileated Woodpecker...but my favorite photo that you've captured is the Waxwing drinking from the birdbath! Just a drip clinging to its' beak..great shot!

  36. Cedar waxwings are in Michigan year-round, but I've never seen one. Nor a pileated woodpecker, so thanks for sharing the photos. I do love our feathered friends.

  37. Stunning waxwing photo - so full of personality - or so it seems. And that's what they look like, wow! Looks like the one on the right dipped his tail in yellow paint pot!

  38. Gorgeous photos, Jan! I don't think we have waxwings here. Pretty darn sure I've never seen one. I wish I had! Wonderful birds! Thanks for the inside peek!

  39. Jan,
    I do love the red tip and yellow on the waxwings... a bird we don't have here. The pileated is so fun to listen for while I'm gardening. Thanks for showing us your collection of visitors. They are all beautiful creatures. I've been snapping away with all the bird activity lately. so fun.
    Meems @ Hoe and Shovel

  40. Your pictures are always so beautiful. Those Cedar Waxwings are gorgeous - they look so smooth.
    Can't wait for the next bunch of pictures. Thanks, Linda

  41. I missed this post on Friday, Jan, must have been actually doing some work instead of dreaming about plants. Love the waxwing especially; we see them in the Valley but not so much up here on the windy, unsheltered hill.

  42. I am happy that you like the birds so you take a lot of photo so I also can see the birds.

    Next week I will buy an new lens for my camera - I what to be able to take photos of birds too.

    On my blog I have a competition.

    At that page it is a competition so you can win that photo as a A4 print.
    The page will tell you to go and visit a page with more photos and then you write down the photo you like and why you like them.
    I need that help so I know what kind of photos people like.
    If you like the competition will you please tell your friends?

    Lots of love,
    Maria Berg, MB

  43. Jan,
    You always have the prettiest bird photos!--Randy

  44. Lucky you. The pileated is one bird I've never seen in my area altho I thought on a couple occasions I've heard them far off. Maybe someday. Your pictures are wonderful. I really enjoyed seeing your visitors.

  45. Oh, I love those waxwings!
    There are lots of the flying over my treetops looking for food. They don't stop here anymore because they have eaten all the berries that was left.
    Glad I can see all your pictures now :) The woodpecker was missing the last time I visited.


  46. Jan, your bird photos are wonderful! I envy you the pileated's visits - I hear them here but rarely see them. And I know the crows are noisy, but they are fun to watch, and the bird in your picture is so glossy and sleek. Thanks for the treat!

  47. What wonderful photos of the Cedar Waxwings! I have yet to see one in person.

  48. Yep! All your photos are here... the Cedar Waxwings are phenomenal! And the bluebirds below are wonderful as well. :-)

  49. LOVE your bird photos! Waxwings are also one of my favorites, but I haven't seen any here for many years. I'm not sure what happened to their numbers although there has been so much development to change the landscape and we had Nile virus hurting some of the avian populations. So...??? I vicariously enjoy your beautiful shots of them.

  50. We have all three!
    So now I have my lens.
    I was so lucky I got a male Accipiter nisus in my graden yeasterday!!!


  51. Wow - great job on the photographs!



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