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Friday, January 18, 2008

Accipiter Alert

Sharp-shinned Hawk, a type of Accipiter

Cedar Waxwing tight flock

Flying Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

We are visiting the Southeast and this morning, a very tight flock of Cedar Waxwings swooshed and sharply turned over our heads. Our first though was how thrilling, Cedar Waxwings are cool birds and we estimated there were about 30-40 in the flock. But a deeper awareness, one honed by our years of watching bird behavior, quickly kicked in.....the reason they might be in such a tight flock was because there was a predator in the area. Don uttered the thought, we searched the sky, and on cue, a Sharp-shinned Hawk flew over our heads and landed in a tree next to us. It was a young bird, we could see the tell-tale brown stripes down its breast, probably hungry for a waxwing meal.

The Cedar Waxwings protective mechanism was to form a tight flock, as there is safety in numbers. They also were flying very fast with tight turns and manuevers, another safety behavior. The message here is to look beyond the immediate and let the bird's behavior lead you to a deeper and more dramatic story.

Photos © Lillian Stokes, 2008

5 comments:

The Boisverts said...

SO beautiful! I'm a new "birder" and live in NH, and have never seen a cedar waxwing. Can't wait to see one in person!

You take such amazing photos. Any way you could set it up on blogger so that when someone clicks on the photo it will show up full screen instead of showing a small picture?

Lillian and Don Stokes said...

In general, we do not have larger photos that you can click to, because the blogger website has a limit on the size photos can be and making a photo full screen size is just too big for the blogger website. We make our photos on our blog the largest that blogger will allow displayed when the photo is uploaded and contained within a blog entry. However, if you click on our photos, they will appear in a separate window that is not part of the blog entry, and they will be slightly larger.

The Zen Birdfeeder said...

Stunning image of the waxwing in flight!

The Boisverts said...

Thanks for the reply!
I am so excited I found your blog and can't wait to continue to learn more and more from you about the creatures that bring me so much joy!
Thanks for all you do!

scienceguy288 said...

It was bloody cold in Buffalo today! -5! I decided to go on a hike anyways as the sky was pristine and the sun was shining. It turned out to be a wonderful, but bone chilling experience.