March 13, 2007

Unexpected Visitors

The other day, as I was trying to figure out why there were no papers in the student union and what the hell happened to my distributors, we had a little visit from a small flock of cedar waxwings, feeding on the shriveled berries from the tree right outside the newspaper office window. I took a break from pacing to snap some pics.

There were about 30 birds flying back and forth from the trees outside of the window, picking the dried berries and harassing each other.

It's funny; our winters are so long here that the very sound of birds chirping and fluttering is alien come March. It's a nice signal that spring is on its way, however.

More pictures and some interesting tidbits on waxwing behavior and ecology below the fold.

In the winter, waxwings typically follow the cold fronts south, as seen below, but since the bird is so nomadic, it will linger where ever it can find good food.

Waxwings are frugivorous (fruit eating), and usually stick to old growth forests (our little visitors are somewhat of an exception). They are sowers of seed in the forest, as all frugivorous animals are; they keep trees and shrubs well dispersed and varied.

The waxwing's song is not the most appealing, but it was definitely welcome in the desolate Appalachian March.


  1. I love the sound of a flock of waxwings! Would you be interested in trying out semantic ecoblogging? We're working on a tool that would enable bloggers to code their observation data so that it could be easily compiled. It isn't quite ready yet but I'm pulling together a group of beta testers and this is exactly the kind of report that could be coded. Read more about our effort at

    And by the way, brilliant idea to do a blogger's bioblitz. If you write a blog post about it I'll link my post to it with a trackback.

  2. Oops, finally found your new site and left a message at your post. Nevermind! Cyndy Parr