In the Book of Job we are instructed to, "Ask...the birds...and they will tell you." In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Look at the birds." So let's ask the birds, and look at the birds, and see what they have to say. May God bless you in your quest! Bill Bossman
Friday, September 16, 2011
My Favorite Bird!
Cedar Waxwing is my favorite bird. It was a close decision between the waxwing and the robin, with a few other birds receiving strong consideration, but the waxwing survived the competition and immerged the winner. In doing comparisons with other birds, using whatever criteria I chose, the Cedar Waxwing always came out on top. What are my reasons? First, there is the overall shape and texture of the bird. Words like sleek, streamlined, and silky come to mind. I like birds with crests, and the Cedar Waxwing's spiffy swept-back chapeau is quite distinctive. Then there is the bird's coloration-- the slate blue of the back, the wings and the tail; the soft glowing yellow of the underside; the tawny brown that seems to envelope the bird like a form-fitting body glove; the bright yellow terminal band on the tail; the red, waxy appendages on the wings; and the mysterious black bandit mask. Wow!
Cedar Waxwing in a cedar tree
Beyond the exterior appearance of the Cedar Waxwing, however, I am hopelessly enamored of this bird's character and charm. Cedar Waxwings always travel in flocks. You almost never see one bird by itself. There is a reason for this. Cedar Waxwings are frugivorous, meaning they eat fruit. In order to survive, Cedar Waxwings must travel widely in search of ripening crops of fruit. One bird would not be able to survive this lifestyle on its own. I have seen thousands of Cedar Waxwings foraging side-by-side in the treetops, but I have never seen them fight among themselves. They always appear to be cooperative, kind, and caring toward one another.
I remember the first time I ever saw Cedar Waxwings. I was 13 years old, and my mother called me over to look out the north window of our house. In the bushes beside the house were dozens of beautiful little birds. Mom had never seen that kind of bird before, but she looked in her bird book, and shortly declared they were Cedar Waxwings. We went outside, and watched as this flock of waxwings systematically devoured the berries on our cotoneaster hedge. Then, an hour later, they were gone. It almost seemed unreal, but I was fascinated by these exotic-looking little nomads.
Some of you will argue with my choice of Cedar Waxwing as favorite bird. You are entitled to your opinions, and choosing a favorite is a very subjective enterprise anyway. I have tried to be fair in my assessments, and I am confident I have chosen the bird that really represents what I truly appreciate most in birds. I hope you have enjoyed this little discussion of some of my favorite birds. Now is your turn. How did I do in my judgments?