Thankful Thursday: mystery solved

Yesterday I glanced out the window and saw a flock of birds in the distance. I grabbed the binoculars and watched as they descended into two treetops. Despite the added magnification, I couldn’t see well enough to identify them. But I kept watching them, hoping the image would miraculously sharpen. Alas, no miracles. However, at one point I thought I saw a little crest. Soon, the flock took off and I watched it wheel across the sky as the birds synchronized their movements. Tears filled my eyes as the mass of birds “shimmered” while it swooped low over the foothills and out of sight.

Later, I described the beautiful sighting to Zippy. I was so sad not to have identified the birds, but when I mentioned thinking I’d seen a crest when watching as they perched in the tree he suggested maybe they were waxwings. A ping went off in my head as I replied, “Maybe.”

Fast forward to this afternoon when I went for a run. Halfway up our street, I heard a commotion in trees on either side of the street. I stopped to observe and, sure enough, the birds had crests. Cedar Waxwings!

Image by Jack Bulmer from Pixabay

Probably about fifty of them, flying back and forth between those two trees (one of which was covered in berries). Some were on the pavement, drinking puddled water from the melted snowbanks. A glorious sight and sound!

Image by Debra Foster from Pixabay

I got to see/hear them several times as I ran back and forth on that sunny stretch of street (it was cold with 20 mph winds!) and then they were gone. It was such a gift. I don’t think I’ve seen a waxwing since we lived in Anchorage and would see them (Bohemian Waxwings) flying drunk on fermented mountain ash berries, and I’m extremely grateful for the timing of my run. If I’d procrastinated going out into the cold and wind, I would’ve missed them.

All gratitude to those beautiful, social birds!

17 thoughts on “Thankful Thursday: mystery solved

  1. They are such beautiful birds. One day last Spring I spent the whole day guarding a fledgling waxwing from the a-hole crow. This crow is not liked by the other crows, but they allow it to roost with them at the rookery each night at the UW Bothell campus nearby. (

    I wish I knew if the other crows don’t like it for the same reason as me or some other reason. I don’t like it because it kills for fun, not just for food. I’ve seen it scare rabbits into the path of oncoming cars, but barely eat its victim. Scare a baby rabbit into the direction of the coyote and then pretend trying to steal it from the coyote. It has decimated countless songbird nests on my property since the housing development nearby drove away my Red-tailed Hawk couple that used to protect both my cherry tree and the small birds from the crows. A mated pair of crows and two juveniles spend all day at the end of my cul de sac and I don’t have any problems with them. (They once stole a contractor’s fast-food lunch off the hood of his truck when he reached in to grab his drink. It was pretty funny, the guy laughed too when I called out to get his attention. I’m glad he didn’t seem mad about it. He just got back in his truck to get a new lunch.)

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    • Hi Melanie and Tracy, There is something troubling about this crow. I did, however, enjoy the story of the crow stealing the lunch and then the contractor laughing about it.
      On another bird note, we are seeing a lot of Evening Grosbeaks this year. This is not common for us. My naturalist mentor says that this year we are experiencing an irruption in the population. This is a change in bird density because of low food supplies in their normal seasonal habitat.

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      • I agree with your sentiments about that crow, Mark, AND the crow/contractor story. HA!

        I had to look up Evening Grosbeaks and they are gorgeous! That’s not good about the low food supplies in their normal habitat, though. I bet it kinda takes the joy out of seeing them. 😦

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    • Hooray for you protecting the fledgling. Boo Hiss for that crow’s bizarre and harmful behavior! Sounds a bit sociopathic, which I didn’t know happened in the wild kingdom. And WOW WOW WOW to 16k crows flying to the campus each night. I’d love to witness that.

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