Thursday, June 11, 2009

Cedar Waxwings at Magee Marsh

If you look closely, you can see the waxy red tips on the secondaries. See, sometimes butt shots come in handy!

I went to visit a friend, Betty Carson (not Parson) today. She is a great birder, antique dealer and supporter of Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society of which I'm a member. She donated four gorgeous prints among other things to help us raise money, and awareness, for our group's project, the Rocky River Important Bird Area. For the past four years, the group has been doing bird surveys in the Rocky River watershed. The amount of information gathered is amazing and we have one more year of surveys to complete. Once this info in completed, it will help the park system and surrounding communities decide on proper habitat management and development. We need more folks like Betty to help out with nature related causes! Thanks Betty!

Betty's favorite bird is the Cedar Waxwing and that reminded me of the unusual behavior me and the Doodles saw this past Sunday out on the boardwalk at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area. We spotted at first a lone bird in a tree catching insects. Then we noticed another fly in and perch close to the first with an insect in its bill. It hopped closer and passed the insect to the others bill, then the first passed it back. This happened a few times, with each bird hopping back and forth and passing the insect. We thought "Is this some sort of illegal substance they are sharing?" Or maybe this bug just tasted nasty and one was saying "I ain't gonna eat this, YOU eat it!"

It turns out that this was a mating ritual with the male giving the female a treat and her giving it back, then him giving it once again, until she finally eats it. Hmmmm, not unlike humans, eh? Male:"Let's go to dinner", female: "No, I'm not hungry, I'll just have a little of yours." Gulp, and yours is gone. I remember dating...

When I get too serious in a blog, a "crazy eye" photo reminds me to knock it off!


  1. Hi Dave,
    Gosh you are all getting cedar pictures!! I'm getting jealous now. After Nick, it's you... Why am I not living in a country where cedar or bohemian can be seen ;-) These are magnificent shots, I love them all... Congrats on the encounter!!

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  3.! You were so lucky to catch that ritual...
    Love that crazy-eye photo too!

  4. Another interesting courtship behavior I learned about! Great photos, Dave!