Sunday, November 20, 2005

wax and wane

I was bundling about the yard today when my wife called out and asked when I thought the cedar waxwings would arrive. 3 hours later I saw several whip through the sky singing their familiar whistle. They are voracious birds and I was disappointed that they had missed our hollies and dogwoods. Then I noticed they were scouting out the woods and were in no way going to go hungry.

In the past we had marked their comings and goings by the solitary buses or trees where we lived. In Little Rock, there was the Oregon Grape Holly that they devoured. In Hope, we had a huge holly (ilex aquifolium) covered with berries and around 12 dogwoods. When they descended it was in a flock that was sometimes frighteningly reminiscent of an Alfred Hitchcock film. They could eat all the berries off the trees in an afternoon. This time they came in small groups and flitted back and forth between different trees. They were like people at a buffet. "We'll have some of this. And now some of that," I could imagine them saying.