Friday, January 18, 2008
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