Saturday Snapshot March 23: Bohemian Waxwings

I came looking for them… Bohemian Waxwings, nomadic passerines, and I wasn’t disappointed. From a distance, I could hear their calls even before seeing them, buzzing, chirping, echoing, convivial. Flocks of them, maybe even a couple hundreds.

From a distance, I could see them congregate on tree tops, the sight could not match the sound. If not with intention, one could well dismiss them from afar, those ‘blackbirds’ on the trees, common sight, right?

Flocks of birds

But no. A closer look could tell they’re not ordinary at all. Their pose is elegant. And they’re not blackbirds. Here’s just a small corner of a tree, reminiscence of images on quilts and tapestry:

Image for quilts and tapestry

And a little more up close, one could sense their gregarious and convivial nature:


Not until I went home, uploaded and cropped the photos could I see their silky plumage, fine and translucent, their pointed crest, the colourful markings on the wings, the yellow-tipped tails:

Bohemian Waxwings


Because of their nomadic nature, they can be here today, gone tomorrow. No wonder… they’re one of the birds included in the bucket list book: 100 Birds to See Before You Die. 

1 down, 99 to go…


Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.

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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

39 thoughts on “Saturday Snapshot March 23: Bohemian Waxwings”

  1. Beautiful birds! I loved how you teased us with the faraway shots. You’re right that as individuals they didn’t look like much, just a flock of birds, so easy to overlook and take for granted. But your close ups revealed their beauty.


    1. Cathy,

      That’s exactly my experience. I heard them first, then saw all the black dots on the tree tops from afar. Lo and behold when I got near… I was much gratified, as you can imagine. But still quite far since the trees were so tall and too many branches to get a clear photo.


  2. Beautiful! Waxwings are one of my favorite birds. The Cedar Waxwings visit me all the time (I have a cedar tree) but so far no Bohemians. I always scan the flocks for a lone Bohemian caught up with the Cedars, but so far, none. They remain on my bucket list.


    1. Leslie,

      It’s a matter of geographical location… at this time of the year, we won’t get any Cedar. I know we have the Bohemian, but they’re not easily sighted this up close. Although my 200mm lens just barely captured them. You can see they’re not fully focused when cropped close. With a 400mm, these photos would have been much more beautiful.


      1. True. The Bohemians are not usually seen in Illinois. But every once in a while one turns up in a flock of Cedars. Several were spotted this year during the Christmas Bird Count but I didn’t see them. My claim to fame was finding one of only three Red-headed Woodpeckers in our counting circle. Ahhh, I long for a 400mm lens.


        1. Now that’s a bird I won’t see here at all. Real cool that you’re in the book now. As for the 400mm lens, just think… Christmas is only nine months away. 😉


  3. I’d not heard of the Bohemian waxwings – we have cedar waxwings who come through now and then. They’re purely migratory, and rarely are here more than two or three days. I’ve seen them maybe three times in the past five years. They’re capable of eating their way through big trees full of berries in only an hour or two! I guess that’s why they move on so quickly – there’s nothing left to eat.

    I found this well-written and quite amusing article about how to tell the difference between the species. And here’s a vision of our waxwings from about four years ago. I wasn’t good enough with the camera to get a decent pic, and it was terribly hazy anyway, so I doctored it up a bit, just to keep it as a memento of their visit..


    1. Linda,

      Amusing article indeed. And yes, I know they’re Bohemian and not Cedar for I live way up north and it’s not yet spring here. Your rendition of your Cedar Waxwings is exquisite!


    1. Melissa,

      Unlike the birds in the film, they fly so high up in the sky and they’re graceful when flying. I’ve a few photos of them … maybe I’ll post next time. But they’re just too far away to look threatening.


  4. Those are beautiful birds. I love your presentation — just the way we would have encountered them in person.


  5. I love how you progress in to the close up. What pretty colors and crest they have that you don’t see from a distance. Okay – Now I have to go check out that 100 birds list and see how I’m doing. 🙂


    1. MarthaE,

      Personally, I don’t like bucket list books. It’s just I found it interesting that they’ve listed the Bohemian Waxwings as one on the list. So that’s good that I can see it right in my own backyard. Thanks for stopping by.


  6. What a lovely challenge to set yourself.
    I also enjoyed seeing how those bare winter branches are showing signs of spring buds 🙂


    1. Brona,

      Not really. I just stumble upon this book in the library and took it home. Found this bird on their list there. Just kidding about the 99. If I’ve to see them all, I might never die. 🙂


    1. Diane,

      Thanks. I saw flocks of them again today, right in my neighbor’s backyard. Some flew over to mine but the lighting wasn’t great for photos. Apparently, they love our apple trees, or, what’s remaining of the crab apples there on the trees.


  7. How fantastic! Such a striking bird as you say. They remind me a bit of European Goldfinches, which we have as an introduced bird here. I have that 100 birds to see book, so I just went and looked up the bohemian waxwing page. When you want to see the superb fairy wren (#78) let me know, they visit my yard pretty much every day, and live nearby, some years I think they’re nesting in our yard, other years it’s harder to tell. I think the only other bird of the 100 I’ve seen so far are lyrebirds. Actually I have photos of fairy wrens and lyrebirds I should post some time on a Saturday….


    1. Louise,

      I’ll remember that… Stop by your place to see the Wren. Glad you know what I mean with that bucket list bird book. We just have to go all over the world to fill that list. Actually, I’m not into those kinds of bucket lists, but this one make some interesting and informative recommendations.


    1. Taking a video clip would have been a much more effective way to capture this convivial scene. Hope I can do that the next time I see them. And if I post it, I might even be able to find someone who can translate for me! 😉


  8. Wonderful! I love that you can get right up close with your lens and enjoy the beauty of these birds again on your computer (and in sharing with your readers). We get flocks of birds gathering on trees and chattering away like attendees at a convention lobby waiting to get in. I’m no birder and haven’t got anything stronger than 50mm on my camera so I can’t see what they are — probably the more common flock of blackbirds.


    1. nikkipolani,

      It was the editing, the cropping that did the job I’m afraid. And I do wish I could have a better tele lens because this one just isn’t enough. They were very far away, the trees were tall. So the focus on them all aren’t good at all.


  9. Arti, it looks like a Hitchcock movie only the birds are much, much prettier. Quite the lens on that camera — they’re stunning birds and their colors are amazing. Very nice shots — I can hear a big gasp you must have taken when you saw them there! Bravo!


    1. Jeanie,

      Nothing like the Hitchcock movie at all. They were all flying away with a little crack of my step on the snow. Hard to keep them close to me. 😉


    1. Stefanie,

      Yes, that’s the right word: velvety. I can only think of ‘silky’. But yes, they are so fine and beautiful. The word ‘nomadic’ makes one think they’re not, for some reasons.


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