I've been trapped indoors these last few days, first by inclement weather and then by feeding and entertaining our family who visited us for the holidays. It was a wonderful experience and I wouldn't have changed anything - including the rain - but it didn't leave me any time to spend with my backyard feathered friends. The last of the holiday visitors were on their way by mid-day today, and I rushed outside to refill all the bird feeders and check on what was happening there. What a wonderful surprise was waiting for me!
Sometime over the weekend - maybe they arrived on Santa's sleigh - the Cedar Waxwings had checked into the Backyard Birder's guest quarters. When I went outside to fill the feeders today, the first voices I heard were the trilled sreee coming from a big flock of the birds that had settled into the trees around the yard. It was a most welcome sound that brought a smile to my face, for Cedar Waxwings are among my favorite winter visitors. (And yes, I know I say that about all of them!)
Waxwings really are special though. They are such dapper birds, always perfectly coiffed with every feather in place. I love to watch them as they sit in the trees, talking softly to each other and sometimes passing a berry or some other morsel of food back and forth as they sit in a line on a limb.
They are late-arriving visitors, usually turning up around Christmas, but sometimes even later. They are just about on schedule this year and they'll be with us for several months. They are among the last winter migrants to show up but they are also among the last to leave. They are usually in my yard well into spring.
It's still a cold and drizzly day outside, not really conducive to sitting outside and enjoying the birds, but I hope to get out a bit later to try to assess if anybody else checked into my yard when I wasn't looking. For now though, I'm just very happy that the silky brown birds with the distinctive crest, the yellow-tipped tail and black mask have come to visit once again. It would be a sad winter without them.