Most days, following a brief period of coffee and news consumption, I launch into a caffeine-inspired frenzy of laundry, house tidying, email, writing and client-related or other work. Now that we are empty-nesters and weekend soccer and school events are a thing of the past, weekends are often filled with bread and cake baking, errands, major cleaning or repair projects and—in season—gardening.

But some days…

Well, some days I just can’t quite seem to figure out what to do. I don’t feel particularly inspired by any potential plan. Do I want to sew? Nah. Do I want to make jam? Meh. Do I want to re-arrange the bookshelves? Not really.

Today was one of those days. I spent about 45 minutes half-heartedly picking up one project and putting it down, wandering around and looking at all the things that needed doing. Nothing was really capturing my attention. So I was standing upstairs, looking out the window and pondering my lack of enthusiasm. That’s then I saw them.

The cedar waxwings are here!

Cedar Waxwings on Winter King Hawthorns. (Click on photo to embiggen.)

The cedar waxwings only make an appearance here once a year and it’s always within about a two-week period in February. In 2009, they were here on February 11—yes, exactly three years ago today. In 2010 and 2011 they were here February 19. That’s impressively regular for a group of animals without the benefit of a Google calendar.

Cedar Waxwings on Winter King Hawthorns. (Click on photo to embiggen.)

The big attraction for the cedar waxwings are the Winter King Hawthorns that line the driveway closest to our house. They are full of luscious red berries even in February. The cedar waxwings fly in in a huge flock, perching in the trees surrounding the hayfield. You can hear them chattering away and see them swooping down in groups of three and four, helping themselves to the berry banquet.

Within three or four days, the trees will be denuded of ever last berry and the cedar waxwings will move on to the next stop on their annual itinerary.

Naturally, I was inspired to whip out the camera and the honkin’ big lens. It didn’t matter that it was cold and a little drizzly. I finally had found my project. Good thing I was standing around gazing out the windows!

Cedar Waxwing in Winter King Hawthorn (click on photo to embiggen.)

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  • céline says:

    bravo for the pics, Robin. I have never seen birds like these before, mind you, I’m not very good at birds, but I loved reading about nature following its millenium course : this appointment with the waxwings is one of marvel. Thank you for sharing.

  • Gail says:

    Fabulous captures Robin. I’ve never had the honor of them visiting my garden but, love seeing them in yours. Maybe, it’s time to plant a few more berry producing trees. Your hawthorns are gorgeous! gail

  • Frances says:

    Oh my goodness! They are fabulous, and the images are spectacular! Well done!!!!!

  • Yvonne says:

    Just lovely, I enjoy these birds when they come to our crab apple trees.

  • Layanee says:

    I really wish I could get my eyeliner on that straight. I never see them at my house but I will look in the next three weeks on the junipers as I have heard that they like juniper berries. Great shots and I am glad they solved your to do dilemma.

  • Daisy says:

    Hi Robin!
    Beautiful post with awesome pictures! What I find even more amazing is your ability to identify the birds…impressive! I can identify woodpeckers not by sight but by the sound they make when they are pecking at my house. Oh, and the robins, because they visit my garden in the spring looking for worms. We all have to start somewhere.

    Thank you for sharing

  • Carol says:

    Beautiful. The lesson here is don’t listen to the teachers — it does pay to sometimes just gaze out the window.

  • Those hawthorns remind me of my neighbor’s winterberries. We have native hawthorns in the woods, but I have never grown any ornamentally. I would like to attract the birds where I can see them from the house. More research is in order.

  • Julie says:

    Wow–such gorgeous photos! I adore bird watching but find that as soon as I locate my camera, they’re gone. Lovely shots–thanks for sharing!

  • These are one of my very favorite visitors here at Our Little Acre, though I haven’t seen them here in awhile. Your photos are beautiful, Robin!

  • Kiko says:

    @Carol haha, that’s a good excuse to tell your teacher when you got caught looking out the window and not paying attention. Enjoy life even in the smallest detail. Love the pictures robin, we don’t get that kind of birds around here though, i wish they would visit. What we get mostly here are crows and vultures. nah, kiddin, but we also get some annual visits from migratory birds (I have no idea about the names of their species). We enjoy looking at them perching at our trees in the garden from time to time. I’m a budding gardener and inherited a semi-urbanized area to grow a garden. I get a lot of tips and ideas from blogs like yours and this site: Have a great spring!

  • Carol from allaboutrosegardening says:

    Just beautiful! We are all very….glad that you couldn’t find something to do that day! Now we can all enjoy the beautiful birds!
    Your blog is terriffic!

  • Gordon Rigg says:

    Loved the bottom picture of the waxwing eating the Berry. Caught it it at exactly the right minute. Looks the sort of image that could win a photo competition.

  • julie says:

    Hi Robin, Just wanted to pop it to say hi and let you know how happy I am to have discovered your blog. I’m in the process of designing a potager and your pictures and information have been most inspiring. Looking forward to reading your new posts.

  • Yael says:

    The pictures of the Cedar Waxwings in the Hawthorne are wonderful. We get them occasionally. And last year a huge flock of them descended upon my Dogwood and ate most the berries that were there. A few days later a flock of robins finished off what was left.


  • Latia says:

    Awesome picture.Thank you for sharing this to us..

  • very serene, not a care in the world for these peaceful birds

  • Murat says:

    Incredible photo shots here. These birds are very unique and are just examples of the beauty of our nature. I like to watch birds as you are. They give me life power and happiness.

  • Alexandra says:

    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing, teaching and inspiring. I summer where hawthorns grow naturally, albeit sans the lovely blooms and plethora of red berries. The ones behind the ‘Big’ garden are ancient, gnarled and a good props for one of the Hobbit movies. They do have their own charm.

    I can see though the King Hawthornes lining the long drive to the farm though. It would provide good viewing in and out those long northern winters. If we spied a Cedar Waxwing enroute, an added bonus! I don’t believe much of the drive is visible from the house. Maybe some creative planting will remedy.

    BTW, what is with the nagging nag screen? I cannot read for 10 seconds without it popping up?!! (my last nerve!) Otherwise I enjoy reading the blog and enjoying such creative and useful ideas. Thanks for all! Cheers, Alex