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Sunday, January 14, 2018

Cedar Waxwing

I forced myself outside to take a walk in the windy cold yesterday and I was rewarded with a cedar waxwing sighting. Look at that smooth sleek masked and crested beauty. There were two of them sitting in a tree that was covered with dry berries, which is what they eat in winter along with cedar berries from which they get part of their name.
The waxwing part of their name comes from their bright red wingtips. The red parts actually are wax, a bright red waxy secretion thought to play a role in mate attraction. Click to enlarge. I'm attracted.
Their yellow tail tips are lovely, too.

The sighting reminded me of this poem, WAXWINGS, by Robert Francis.

Four Tao philosophers as cedar waxwings
chat on a February berry bush
in sun, and I am one.

Such merriment and such sobriety--
the small wild fruit on the tall stalk--
was this not always my true style?

Above an elegance of snow, beneath
a silk-blue sky a brotherhood of four
birds. Can you mistake us?

To sun, to feast, and to converse
and all together--for this I have abandoned
all my other lives.


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