Feathered Rockets

Photos from an encounter with a flock of Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) at Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge. These wonderfully gregarious birds are always seen in flocks when they migrate down to Florida and all the birds in the flock seem to be connected mentally as they do everything together as a big, noisy, group.
Although these birds eat insects, during their winters in Florida they specialize in eating the fruits and berries from the many Sunshine State plants bearing this cornucopia at this time of year.
Interestingly, the birds can become drunk on the ripe berries that have begun to naturally ferment. A commonplace, if amusing, occurrence that does not harm the birds — as long as they are not flying under the influence and run into a tree!
Watch the flock fly and you will see they have all coordinated their wingbeats so for a moment they look like the streamlined rocketships from old Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers serials.

7 replies »

  1. So lovely! These birds are winter favorites of mine. They gather in my leafless pecan trees every afternoon around 4:45. Your photos are magnificent.

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