I hope I don’t jinx their stay by saying that! Especially as I am now trying to tempt them from the large mature trees they are preening and sunning themselves on to come down into my garden. I most likely have no chance in doing so but as you might expect, I’m giving it my best shot :-)
Wouldn’t it just be the thing, that after having Rowan Berries for the last 18 years in my garden that it was this year that I decided to cut back my tree during work on my new (unfinished) wildlife pond… Aw well ;-)
No matter, after seeing apples being popular with Waxwings on the Fair Isle that was the route I would take to tempt them in to my garden.
Unfortunately, for a feeding experiment like this (being a plants person) I don’t have a lot of open areas that would give the Waxwings a chance to actually see my special Waxwing café.
A number of years ago I made a ring of apples to feed the birds in the winter. I threaded strong wire through the apples. From memory it wasn’t that popular.
Since then I found that coring an apple and pushing it into spikes (like my obelisk) works very well with Blackbirds and Blackcaps thoroughly enjoying them there. I think once the skin has been broken the birds seem more interested in feeding from them.
For my 2010 Waxwing feeding station experiment I looked out my strong wire again. I quickly popped down to my local supermarket for five (reasonably priced) bags of apples.
Without coring the apples first, I threaded the wire through them. My plan was to decorate the brightest and most open tree in my garden with apple garlands.
Thinking on photo opportunities from my window the Coral Bark Maple (Acer palmatum palmatum Sango-Kaku) was the one. Okay, this isn’t a big enough tree to support 60 Waxwings but they could land on my Ivy covered Pergola, my Leylandii hedge or my small Pine trees and work their way across from there.
As this tree does not have thick branches I used small metal bird feeder hooks to help take the strain. Bending this strong wire around was a bit tricky but big loops of wire will also act as a solid perch for the Waxwings should the decide to dine here… we can but dream ;-)
Job almost done except that perhaps the Waxwings would be more attracted to the fruit flesh. A few slim slices of the face of some of the fruit did the trick.
Sorry, there was no time to take step-by-step photos. Understandably, as this was a sunny lunchtime, I was in a hurry to get the job done… did someone call service?
Perhaps Waxwings like to have an earlier lunch? Perhaps a mid-morning snack before sunning themselves? Unfortunately rain is forecasted here for tomorrow but rain or shine the Waxwing Café at shirls gardenwatch will be open ;-)
Without any control over focus or light conditions, my video will be ready to record too. Can’t believe the timing of this but equally I can’t believe the timing of this experiment either… I’ll come back to that at the end of the week :-)
Today I captured video footage of the Waxwings from outside in my garden across to one of three mature trees I can see them visit. In the beginning of the video below the sun isn’t shining on the tree but this changes. At a guess there were 60+ seen at one point.
Although the images aren’t the best they do show a bit of the character of these wonderful birds. I enjoyed watching the way they moved about positions on the tree and how they would fly away in all directions. I like to see them enjoying the sun too.
In the close-up view you can see that they are almost behaving like parrots. Notice the two in the bottom right just seen preening. When some birds fly off the bird above looks like its suggesting they fly off too. I do enjoy seeing the behaviour of birds like this.
Finally for tonight, I’m aware that searches for Waxwings sightings are finding there way to my blog so I’ve been doing a bit of searching myself tonight that might be of interest.
If you follow this link to BIRDNET you will see more details of fairly recent Waxwing sightings on Thursday November 11th.
Note: If you hold down the Ctrl key in your keyboard and press the ‘f’ key you’ll get a ‘find’ box above the webpage on the right. If you type in the word waxwing, the webpage will appear with waxwing highlighted in yellow. That should help you find your way around.
Scotland: Aberdeen, Ayr, Clyde, Granton-on-Spey, Lothian, Perth & Kinross, Fife, Shetland.
England: Cumbria, Derby, Berks, Lancs, Co. Durham, Lincs, Norfolk, Northumberland, Staffs, E.Yorks, N.Yorks, S.Yorks, W.Yorks,
Wales: Gwynedd, Conwy,
Northern Ireland: Co. Antrim, Belfast, Ballycastle, Co. Cork.
BIRDING LOTHIAN is another website here in Scotland. They suggest you text in sightings (to 07794509106). I see Edinburgh had quite a few sightings of Waxwings today at the Airport, Sighthill and South Gyle.
If you know any other websites that are listing sightings please leave a comment below. If you want to share your Waxwing sightings please do add them here too.
Now… I wonder what tomorrow might bring ;-)
All images shown above were taken from my garden on November 15th 2010.