For today's Bird of the Day, we have a guest writer, Ron Hull, who rode with me on the Amberg route. - Noel
When I was a kid, not having any bird books nor adults to tell us any different, we created names for the birds we saw. Hence the Bobolink became "The Skunk Bird" due to the black and white colors. And the Cedar Waxwing became "The Cherry Bird" due to its fondness of eating chokecherries and other berries. Over 40+ years time, I have found myself stopping whatever I was doing whenever I have heard their "Seee" call.
I recall watching 6 or 8 of them perched in a circle, high in the pines at Council Grounds State Park near Merrill, WI. One would fly out, hover briefly, then return to its perch. Then another...and another. It was breeding season so one could presume this was a communal courtship rite. (I know - they were "flycatching" insects - but who really knows?) When most other species have set up territories and are singing away and flying around to repel invaders, the Cedar Waxwings are still hanging out in flocks.
...Another time I recall cresting one of the Baraboo Hills, where with shotgun in hand I was in pursuit of Ruffed Grouse, only to hear their "Seee" call. It was a bitter, cold January day, and I had just walked into the full force of a stiff wind, wondering why I was out here. I looked around and saw a number of them perched atop the "southern cedars" and said in amazement, "What are you guys doing here!?" They seemed oblivious to the cold.
While I do not have a "favorite" species (birds are like kids - all different - all special - you love them all), I DO like Cedar Waxwings. They have such a soft blend of subtle colors, the browns and yellows, the black mask, the crest like the majestic cardinal and their soft song...And, as if the Master Artist having finished his work, stepped back, and said "Oh Yah" and with a brushstroke added a couple red dots at the ends of some wing feathers. "Now it is done."
They don't seem to have a mean feather on their bodies. If you see one, there is another around, or usually several...And they never seem to have any arguments...The World of people and Nations could learn a lot from Cedar Waxwings.