Who Is That Masked Bird?

Marshall was at our house Monday, backing up some files on my computer. (Yes, I should learn to do it myself. Yes, I could probably do it myself, but he does it so effortlessly. And I like having him visit.)

Anyway, while he was busy at the computer, something caught my eye out the window in the direction of the birdbath. At first glance, I knew it was a bird that I wasn’t accustomed to seeing.

The birdbath was a flurry of activity, with yellow-tipped tailfeathers everywhere.

We began looking in the Audubon Field Guide (which Marshall had thoughtfully given me a few years ago), and found Cedar Waxwings. Marshall is familiar with those, but the ones he has seen weren’t this colorful. These birds looked exactly like the pictures of a Bohemian Waxwing.

There was just one tiny problem. According to Audubon:  “Breeds from Alaska, Yukon, Mackenzie, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba south to central Washington, northern Idaho and northwestern Montana. Wanders irregularly farther south and east during winter. Also in Eurasia.

“This handsome bird of the North Woods is a rare visitor to the northeastern United States in winter.”

Hmmm.. well, since we’re in Virginia, and it isn’t winter, this must not be a Bohemian Waxwing, unless they took a MAJOR wrong turn.

I love the mask; doesn’t this make you think of “Batman”? Or Darth Vadar? Okay, can you tell my son was a child of the 1980’s? (Click on pictures to enlarge.)

So, apparently, we didn’t have a rare sighting of a Bohemian Waxwing, but we did enjoy the Waxwings that DID visit, and it’s nice to know my files are safely backed-up once again.  Thanks, Marshall.

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21 responses to “Who Is That Masked Bird?

  1. Way cool masks and coloring WHATEVER type of waxwings they were…..if they WERE Bohemians, perhaps their GPS devices were “off” or their radar wasn’t working and they ventured out of their regular range JUST TO COME SEE YOU! Great photo captures either way….always nice to see something new at the birdbath….

    Pam and Sam

  2. You are so lucky! Waxwings are so awesome and so perfectly colored they don’t even look real. We get them in winter like for one day and they come and strip our scrub cedars of the blue things whatever they are along with robins. You got some great pictures Dianna. And don’t tell anybody but CH puts my pictures on a stick and backs up my files because I find it a bit overwhelming 🙂

  3. These birds are so beautiful! I just love the bright yellow-tipped tail feathers that look like fans when you captured them in flight:) The fact that there are so many of them at one time, does seem that they are group migrating. And just because there is a “typical” migrating pattern at certain times – with the crazy weather patterns this year – they could be Bohemian:) One year I saw a flock of eastern bluebirds in front yard that were obviously migrating and it was so amazing. God’s creation is so magnificent! Thanks for sharing a part of that with all of us!

  4. Cedar Waxwings are one of my favorites and I’ve never seen them ANYWHERE but Saskatchewan (where I hail from) or Manitoba … Wonderful pictures 🙂 MJ

  5. From what I just looked up, in Google images, it could be, it just could be one…the mask, the yellow tipped tail feathers point to it. The map I saw shows your area during their “non-breeding” season, but their breeding range is in Canada and the other places you mentioned.
    How nice that Marshall can back up your files “effortlessly so your files don’t get as “lost” as these lovely birds. Great pictures, especially the masked one.

  6. They are delightful! You really captured some really great shots.

    How lucky you are to have Marshall to help with your computer. If you were closer, I’d borrow hime! 😉

  7. Being a fan of yellow (and the yellow/gray combo) these may be my new favorite birds! Great job catching the yellow on the flared tail feathers!

  8. I think it looks like they are wearing sunglasses…Maybe they were just “chillin'”

  9. i love when waxwings zip through.

  10. Waxwings are some of my favorites, too, but these just looked different. I did more research, and now that I see the pics, we definitely had *Cedar* Waxwings. There’s a feature the Bohemians don’t have.. : the white “tertials” – the innermost wing feathers that look like two white lines going partway up the back. Only the Cedars have those. So: these are Cedars! Maybe I had just never seen that many together that were so active ????

  11. Wow, whatever they are, they are very cool with their masks (or shades as Donna K said). Maybe our fine feathered friends are a little discombobulated with all the strange weather going on. A pure white snowy owl was spotted for days in our area – a never before seen thing here. I caught a glimpse of it, but didn’t get any pictures. 😦

  12. OH they are gorgeous — one of my fave birds, and we just don’t see them often here. Your pictures are GREAT! Birds of a feather, flocking together!

  13. Regardless of their species, they are adorable. That mask is so cute. lol The yellow of they tails is so bright and pretty. I think they’re all Cutie-pies.
    Your bird bath is charming, I’ve never seen one like it. 🙂

  14. So charming! And they came together! I’d love to know what they were doing in Virginia. Lost or vacation?

  15. They must be visiting with groom swan. Your area is so lovely, word had to get out, even to the birds. I’m sure Marshall loves to help his mother. Aren’t sons special!

  16. I love the Cedar Waxwings! Such a pretty bird. I know how you feel about the computer backup. I could probably learn to do it easily but it’s just so much easier to have my kids do it for me! 😀

  17. We saw a flock of them once, filling the crepe myrtles and feasting on the berries. There were so many! I’m glad they came to visit your yard, what a treat!

  18. Super pretty birds. I hear tell we have those here in Northern Idaho but I don’t think I’ve ever noticed those before, I’ll be paying more attention now.
    I think not only are their masks cool I really like that band of yellow on their tail feathers.
    ~d.

  19. They certainly are pretty wee birds – I love the yellow tips of the wings. You got some really good pictures of them too.
    Getting Marshall to back up your computer seems like a great reason to get him to come to visit :))

  20. Sometimes birds surprise us in their ranges. Maybe because it was snowy in the NE during their visit, they decided to make a quick trip down to Va. I have never seen a cedar waxwing with a yellow tipped tail! These birds are just beautiful, whether Bohemian or regular waxwings! Maybe a serious birder can help us out!

  21. Shirley Matthews Dunn

    What beautiful, beautiful birds!!

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