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The Day’s Delight: Waxwing

After days of cold, visitors!

They flocked, less than a dozen, to the Japanese lilac (bare, of course). It was as if birds had only existed in picture books before that moment, as if I had only dreamed them, it’s been so long.

Fat and rosy gray with deep black eyeliner and a hint of yellow at the wings and tail. They took it in turns to dart for across the deck and back: “They’re eating the berries from the wreath!”

Some winters I’m sure there are still Mountain Ash berries on the trees this time of year, but the birds knew the cold was coming and they picked the clusters clean last fall in one short week.

These birds were similar, but not the same: not cedar waxwings, who tend more yellow than orange-red, and who are longer and leaner than these puffballs: bohemian waxwings, who, according to those who know and write about it, migrate down from Alaska at this time of year.

“Are the berries on the wreath even real?” A quick check revealed they were, though few, and the little flock only paused on the ornamental crab tree on the front lawn before following whatever inner knowing guided them to a Christmas wreath and a handful of bright red berries lifted them and sent them on.

I hope they found every bright beakful we had to offer.


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