Tuesday, February 27, 2018

An Earful of Waxwings {and a Poem}

Winter is, in my opinion, the best time for birdwatching in our area. We are either winter homes or on the migratory path of quite a few species we don't see the rest of the year, and we are far enough south that the usual suspects, the cardinals and mockingbirds and chickadees and house finches and sparrows, don't feel the need to escape for warmer climes.

This year, in addition to the charm of goldfinches, we have enjoyed watching an abundance of cedar waxwings. They seem to relish the berries of the native Yaupon holly, and we have holly shrubs along one side of the house and a medium-sized tree in the front. It made me laugh to discover that the collective noun for a group of waxwings is either an earful or a museum (Madame Tussaud's, perhaps?).

They look so elegant and a bit mysterious with their black burglars' masks and tiny flash of red at the tips of the wings, but they are spooked by the slightest thing and not brave enough to travel alone. We see a dozen waxwings or a hundred (truly), but not just one.

In the poem below the photos, I play around with that idea a bit. Enjoy!

A hundred banditti alight,
Their stolen shards of shattered sunset
Glowing like candles blazing in bare limbs.
Their theft exacts a high price:
A shadow approaches, and they flee,
Fugitives from their own guilty consciences.


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