I photographed these Cedar Waxwings in March, 2013 at South Llano State Park. Waxwings are gregarious and true to this description I saw many of them.
Red, waxy tips on secondary wing feathers are often indistinct and sometimes absent altogether. All waxwings have sleek crests, silky plumage and yellow-tipped tails. Where berries are ripening, waxwings come to feast in amiable, noisy flocks. [description taken from one of my favorite birding books “National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America.]
The “Smithsonian Handbook: Birds of North America, Western Region” states the description of the red, waxy tips differently. It states – the purpose of the “red wax” is long-debated, but younger birds do not have it and the older birds that do often choose each other as mates and produce more young that the younger pairs.
Waxwings eats fruit, flower petals and insects; and drinks sap. One way to distinguish between males and females is the color of the throat. Females have a brownish throat, the males a blackish throat.
I might have mentioned before, South Llano State Park in Junction, Texas is one of my all time favorites.
In my garage I have several Hummingbird feeders hanging on pegs collecting dust. Several, because every time I visit a hardware store, I mossy over and look at the feeders and there is usually a cute one just asking me to take it home. I blame Howard the hubby, because he likes to go to hardware stores. If I was being honest, so do I. In fact I love going to hardware stores.
Well, just maybe this one will help keep the bees and wasps away, I tell myself. So one comes home with me and after a few tries it goes on the peg next to a couple more. I just hate seeing the bees chasing the Hummingbirds away. I don’t worry too much, because throughout this spring and summer we have had several Hummers hanging out in the yard enjoying the flowers I planted just for them.
Howard, said one day “Why don’t you hang up some of your feeders for them?” Oh jeez “here we go again.”
Back in the early part of spring, at the time I brought an Oriole feeder, I also bought the very best Hummer feeding mix on the market; however, I won’t mention the name. So I got out my feeders, washed them really well, filled them using this mix and hung two feeders up, one in the front yard and one in the back. Gotta keep the hubby happy!
Guess what? The Hummers would take one sip and fly away not to return to the feeder. The bees, wasps and the House Finches loved my attempt at feeding the tiny guys. I have never seen the House Finches enjoying the Hummer feeder as I have this year. I know the importance of the honey bees and don’t want to cause any harm to them, but I just wish they would leave the Hummers alone while they are trying to eat.
One afternoon last week, around happy hour, hubby and I were sitting out on the deck watching one of the ignored, cute hummer feeders I had filled with pretty red liquid. Howard says “I don’t think they like that stuff. Why don’t you try mixing your own food for them? Okay, I say. I can see that they just don’t like the pretty red liquid in my cute little feeder.
Last Sunday I mixed up a batch using the recommended blend of one cup of water to four teaspoons of sugar. I filled the two feeders with my blah, white blend and we waited to see how the Hummingbirds would react to my new offering. Almost immediately we had several female Broad-tailed Hummers declare their claim to these feeders. Yeah! Finally!
These females have been busy scouting, eating, fighting and resting. They are so much fun to watch. Just wondering how much longer, this season, they will be around.
bird on a wire
such a tiny life full of fire
female without doubt
During this past week I was able to capture a few images of a Hummer as she sat on one of Howard’s Amateur Ham Radio antennas. They seem to love perching there, I believe, because it is high and the perfect scouting post.
After taking a few photos the other day and now looking at their facial expressions it is amusing and makes me wonder, what are they thinking. I wonder if a female Hummer could talk what would she say?