Friday, 12 August 2016

House Wren (Troglodyte familier) and Cedar Waxwing (Jaseur d'Amérique)

10 August 2016
Hullett Marsh, Huron County, ON

     We had planned a visit to Bayfield and left ourselves enough time stop by Hullett Marsh on the way - and it was a couple of hours well spent.
    Many nest boxes have been located throughout the property and this year House Wrens Troglodytes aedon seem to have claimed squatters' rights.

     They are aggressive little birds and able to defend their territories pugnaciously against all comers.  This individual perched atop his nest box and uttered his rollicking song as though to challenge those who might dare to interfere.

     It was curious behaviour in a way, because the bird would enter the nest with food in its bill, obviously feeding young, and then come back out to take up its position on top of the post and sing loudly.
     Perhaps in complete disdain of us it turned its back!

     Cedar Waxwings Bombycilla cedrorum were actively flycatching and had found the rails of an old bridge very convenient perches.

     This is a very handsome species indeed and one that never fails to be appreciated by visitors who have never seen it. It is a year round resident and with a little diligence can be found at any time of the year. It is primarily a frugivorous species and even feeds its young a principally fruit-laden diet, supplemented by a few insects.
     The following picture shows a close-up of the waxy tips on the wings giving the bird its name. I remember my grandmother used to seal the string on parcels to be mailed with sealing wax, looking very much like the bright red wingtips of a Cedar Waxwing.

     From any angle this species is one of our most enigmatic residents.

     Common Milkweed Asclepias syriaca is at the peak of its inflorescence in August and it was seen throughout.

     Milkweed is vital in the life of a Monarch Danaus plexippus and they were present, although in small numbers; this year does not seem to be a good year for Monarchs.
     It always strikes me as amazing when I see butterflies with a large part of their wing(s) missing, yet they still are able to fly proficiently. This Monarch flitted from flower to flower without any problem that we could ascertain, whereas one would think it would be aerodynamically unbalanced.

     Hullett Marsh, in all its seasons, always holds delights in store for a visiting naturalist, and there are many more treasures waiting to be discovered on subsequent visits. We will look  forward to it!


  1. Hi David, another interesting post but your Cedar Waxwing is as you say, a very handsome bird, absolutely stunning. All the best to you both. Regards John

  2. Some wonderful photo's David and I love reading your commentary and facts you include.

    The close up of the cedar waxwings - waxy tips is quite stunning.

    Isn't it wonderful that sometimes even with a damaged wing the butterfly goes about the daily business of being a butterfly. Always a delight to see.

    Enjoy your weekend

    All the best Jan

  3. Dearest David,
    You are fortunate for having those beautiful Cedar Waxwings around year round.
    Lovely photo series.

  4. Hi. What a magnificent birds. Greetings.

  5. Hello David!:) This is the first set of photos I have seen with the Wren with it's tail pointing downwards. I think part of it's charm is it's perky tail and stance. Your images are excellent however,.. of both these species. The Waxwing is a beautiful bird, that I have yet to see in the wild. How lucky you are to be able to see them all the year round. I 'm always so sorry to see part of a butterflies wing missing, but as you say, it does not seem to hinder their flight. Have a good weekend.:)

  6. Beautiful pictures of both species, David.
    Gr Jan W

  7. What a amazing treat David,two of my favourite birds,well done.

  8. I see that your House Wren is a little larger than our Wren (your Winter Wren), and a little more 'pointy'. Seems to have a similar character, however.

    It seems that our Bohemian Waxwings, when they visit, are most attracted to places with not just berries, but with water available too. Apparently they need copious amounts of water to help with the digestive process. Do your Cedar Waxwings have similar requirements?

    A delightful post again!

    Love to you both - - - Richard

    1. Hi Richard: I am not aware of this need for water and I can't find any reference to it. Here, in the winter, especially in a harsh winter, open water would be hard to find and the main diet of Cedar Waxwings then is frozen berries. Perhaps they eat snow - I just don't know!

  9. The Wren is beautiul, and Waxwings are wonderful as well. You have a great selection.

  10. The design of the Cedar Waxwing is so intricate, with its bright, tipped markings.

  11. Good morning David. You are indeed lucky to have Cedar Waxwings all year round. Super birds. I wish our Bohemian Waxwings were so predictable. They were a real rarity last winter when I didn't see a single one.

  12. Great photos of the House Wren and Cedar Waxwing. Both are beautiful birds. Have a beautiful day!

  13. Hello David, love the captures of Wren. Waxwings they stay over in Winter in the Netherlands. Hope one day to see them as well. Butterflies are having a bad year here as well. Much less are flying around. Hope next year will be more succesful.

    1. Hi Roos: The species you see in The Netherlands is Bohemian Waxwing, not Cedar Waxwing, equally beautiful, however, perhaps even more so.

    2. Ah thank your for this information David.

  14. Love how the House Wrens are always defending their nests. Loud and brazen while raising their young ones. And when not on eggs, they sure know how to hide:) And the they ever take a poor picture?:) Beautiful captures!

  15. Hello David,
    Hum, I like the waxwing ! Wonderful.
    And the wren is like ours, it's very cute !

  16. I have always loved Cedar Waxwings -- but have never seen such great pictures of the waxy tips of those wings. I thought they were migratory birds -- surprised they are full year residents! (And slightly envious, I must admit.) Those little Troglodytes are as brave and feisty as their Latin name implies!!

  17. These birds are so beautiful !!
    Thanks for sharing your great photos !!

  18. Amazed at how many wren species you have in North America (only one across the whole of Eurasia). And Waxwings in summer is something I have yet to see.............

    1. It's true. The Americas really are the wren continents. Here in southern Ontario we have five species - House Wren Winter Wren, Carolina Wren, Marsh Wren and Sedge Wren.

  19. Hi David,
    I thought a wren was a very sweet little bird who sings another wonderful :-) Apparently I was mistaken in it lol .....
    Your photos of the waxwing really phenomenal! Pretty sharp, bright and really beautiful color. I have this bird only one time in my life. I'm very glad you gefotgrafeerd this bird. And you also have a butterfly! Really nice to see.
    Warm regards, Helma

  20. Hi friend.. Lovely birds and pictures..

    Come to Spain to see de Bearded Vulture.. Cheers..

  21. What a beautiful photos David.
    I think the waxwing really magnificent.
    Best regards, Irma

  22. Beautiful pictures you stand here again David.
    Beautiful birds but the butterfly is very beautiful to see.
    Nice weekend, Tinie greetings