The Early Bird : LUSENET : Kentlands : One Thread

Was anyone else lucky enough to see the flock of migrating robin redbreasts in Kentlands yesterday afternoon? Once I got over the initial, (Hitchcock's) "The Birds"-induced queasiness at the sight, and sound, of a couple or more hundred of these things flying around overhead, it was a fascinating and beautiful event to behold. These were huge, brightly colored birds. The attraction, in my yard, was a berry-laden (now stripped bare) bush. As many as 50 to 60 birds were in the bush at the height of what I can only describe as an eating frenzy. It seemed the only thing that kept more from settling on the branches at any one time was the periodic traffic passing by, which would momentarily scare the birds away.

Before this, I had never seen more than a couple or three robins in the same place at any one time. I have since learned that robin redbreasts migrate north in the winter in flocks that can number in the hundreds and that the males (which are the more brightly colored) migrate before the females. I don't know how long a migrating flock stays in an area before moving on. But I sure hope that others had, or get, the chance to see this spectacular sight before the flock that was here yesterday leaves our area.

-- Mary N. Macdonald (, February 11, 2003


There's more about the birds, and this is where my question comes in.

At the point where the largest number of robin redbreasts were on the bush in my yard, I noticed that there were several birds of a different kind there, too. These were striking. Among their distinctive features were yellow bellies, broad yellow bands at the tips of their tails, a deep black around the eyes (mask effect) that was outlined in white, and a brown crest. Fortunately, a few of the pictures I took came out well enough to see (with magnification) the markings on these birds and be able to identify them. They were cedar waxwings. My question, for anyone in or outside of this community who might know, is how is it that these birds were with the migrating flock of robin redbreasts? I had never seen a cedar waxwing before, and it was a surprise to see several mixed in with such a large flock of robins.

-- Mary N. Macdonald (, February 11, 2003.

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