Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Bohemian Waxwings Are Back!

Still no moose. There are more tracks in the snow, so I know that they are still toying with me. I have hopes to catch them soon, but until then, the Bohemian Waxwings came back to visit yesterday. If you've never seen these birds in person, they are beautiful, but very hyper. (I am beginning to wonder if these berries contain caffeine. They have their system worked out to perfection, though. The birds appear in a massive swarm, and perch in neighboring trees. Then they take off in groups of about 20 or so and land in my little crab apple tree. They each grab a berry, swallow it whole, and then take off to another tree to perch and wait for their next turn. As soon as they leave, another bird flies in to take it's place. The sound is very interesting, too. They don't chirp much, but the fluttering of their wings as they fly in and out, added to the sound they make when they pluck the frozen berries off the tree, resembles the crackling sound of a campfire. It's a crackling sound with an occasional bigger pop.
The first time I saw them eating berries, I was amazed that they didn't choke on them. They swallow the whole thing so quickly that I was sure I was going to have to do the heimlick maneuver on a few of them. In case you are curious, Tink was inside on the couch and watching them very intently the whole time. It was very tempting for her, but she couldn't figure out how to open the window. Ashley was enjoying a nice nap.

There were so many birds on the tree that the ones on the upper branches were knocking snow off of the limbs onto the lower birds.

They worked very quickly, so soon the branches were free of berries and the swarm of locust-like birds were off to another tree.
I also had to include another moon picture that I took yesterday afternoon. It was very impressive. One good thing about our short Alaskan winter days is that you don't have to stay up late to enjoy the moon. I took this picture at around 4 pm.

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