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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Birds at Folk Life Village

Cedar Waxwings Visit the Parking Lot!
It was one of those 'stop dead in my tracks' moments. Two cedar waxwings were exploring the red hot pokers - those striking tall plants with the red and yellow tops in the 'garden' section of the village parking lot. I stood, stock still, and watched. I'd never before seen a cedar waxwing up close. The photo below is not mine, of course, since I'd been grocery shopping and left my camera in the trunk of the car. Drat.

Cedar waxwing. Photo by David Menke. Courtesy US Fish & Wildlife Service.

The first thing I noticed about the two waxwings in the village was the sheen of their smooth-looking coat. Almost unfeather-like. Then that black mask and feathered protrubance (I'm sure there's a scientific name for this) on the back of the head! After about ten seconds of allowing me to gawk, they flew off, and I heard their soft, lilting call as they headed over the village rooftops.   

According to my ID guides, cedar waxwings (bombycilla cedrorum) come to BC to breed in the summer. They often gather in flocks in late summer and fall to gorge on berries. Apparently, they have been known to get 'drunk' on fermented berries. That'd be a sight worth seeing!

Violet Green Swallows Nestlings on the Boardwalk 
In other Folklife Village bird news, I've been listening to the violet-green swallow nestlings chirping away under the eave just outside the bookshop whenever the mother or father arrives with food, which is often. It's delightfully distracting. The nest is well hidden from view but one of these days, soon, the nestlings will be big enough to start perching at the edge where they'll be visible, and their parents will be able to feed them (regurgitated flying insects, yummm) without going inside. It will be kind of a fast food drive through situation.

This is a photo I took last year of the same nest site. Note the white decor everywhere. For more information than you'll ever need on this stuff, check out, a New York blog that, for the past week, has been celebrating (is that the right word?) "Bird Poop Week". Really. Much of it is pretty interesting, and a lot of it is hilarious!


Anonymous said...

Hi Sharon, I like your blog and it seems to be working! Pretty sure I had an Audubon's warbler here a couple of weeks ago but too slow to get a photo. Annette

Sharon said...

Dear Anonymous,

I looked up Audobon's warbler in Birds of Coastal BC (John & Acorn 1997) and discovered that they refer to the Audobon's warbler as the Yellow-Rumped Warbler. I'm guessing the name changed somewhere along the line, since it is called Audobon's in my 1966'Birds of North America' by Robbins , Bruun, & Zim. In any case I see that it (whatever one calls it) has a yellow throat, yellow caplet, and darker belly, compared to MacGillvary's which has a yellow belly and darkish hood. Thanks for inspiring me to
check this out. I can see that having a blog might become a full-time "job"!