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The Bandit

Sharing in the feast with the Pine Grosbeaks were Bohemian Waxwings. Large flocks of this boreal species are roving around Ottawa this fall. They had apportioned things neatly with apparently one tree belonging to the waxwings and the other to the grosbeaks. The one the waxwings were in was the one with excellent afternoon lighting. (I kept hoping they would trade places, as my camera struggled with shadows in the grosbeak tree. No such luck.) I even managed to capture their eyes (usually eclipsed by the surrounding black mask), as red as the fruit they were eating.

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Unlike grosbeaks, waxwings swallow berries whole. In fact they use fruit in precisely the opposite way, digesting the pulp and juice and excreting the seeds undigested.

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Mind you, the swallowing part can be a challenge!

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November 16th, 2012 at 11:53 pm
Those pictures are amazing! I love the contrast of the blue blue sky, and the red berries and the bird. I grew up with cedar waxwings. These guys are relations of theirs? Gorgeous.

November 17th, 2012 at 12:04 am
Thank you!

Yes, close relations. They're a little bigger and a little greyer, with a telltale patch of chestnut under the tail, and they're more adapted to cold climates. Other than that they look and act very like Cedar Waxwings.

November 17th, 2012 at 6:51 am
I keep going back to that 2nd pic for another look. Great set of shots, of a pretty bird I'd never really noticed before.

November 17th, 2012 at 10:53 am
Excellent pix! #3 does indeed look like a challenge.

November 17th, 2012 at 9:38 pm
Beautiful those berry-red eyes!

I stopped by Herzberg today and found only Bohemian waxwings and two robins. However, I found another spot close by which had both waxwings and Pine Grosbeaks, including one young Cedar Waxwing. I finally got some decent grosbeak photos, too!

November 18th, 2012 at 2:01 am
Excellent! Look forward to seeing them.