Monday, February 18, 2008

Bohemian Waxwings

Yesterday the Bohemian Waxwings descended on our back yard again. We have two crabapple trees in our backyard. Both produce a large number of apples but one apparently produces much better tasting apples. The tree producing the good apples is older and is loosing a few limbs. The birds will eat all the apples off this tree and the ones that have fallen on the ground before they will begin eating apples from the other tree. As we get latter in the spring the apples left on the not-so-good tree become more appealing as other source of fruit disappear. We usually get large flocks of Bohemian Waxwings about three or four times a month from November through February (maybe more as I am not around during the weekdays) to work over the remaining fruit and have a drink or quick bath.
Yesterday I estimated there were about 600 individuals either eating on the dried apples in our backyard or waiting in the neighbors cottonwood tree.

This species is quite common in the Fort Peck area during the winter with thousands feeding on Russian Olive and ornamental fruit trees in town and along the Missouri River. It may even breed in the northwestern part of the state. Early records, which have been carried forward into recent range maps and accounts, suggested that this species was an occasional breeder but recent reviews of these records show that no nests were ever actually found and the supposition of breeding in Montana was based on a lot of conjecture and little fact. They do nest not that much farther north into Canada but for now there is no hard evidence of this species breeding in the state.
First, one side.
then the other.


booby-breasted catbird said...

Waxwings take my breath away. They move in the air as though one organism. And I love that they're so social. I've watched them pass fruit down the tree limbs to birds who cannot reach any fruit!

If only humans were still like this.

Saying hi, from Missoula!

Trixie said...

Those are some amazing shots. I love the bohos. The sound they make intrigues me. And you had 600! Holy cow!