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Monday, June 7, 2010

Why do we pick a favorite of anything.  It seems a particularly human thing to do - a favorite food, a favorite color. When we meet a person, we think a good way to get to know them by finding out their favorites.  If you don't know your sweetheart's favorite color or type of cake, then you still have alot of work to do on your relationship.  I can find out alot about someone by asking what their favorite thing to do on vacation is. My favorites change though I still claim baby blue as my favorite color.  How about your favorite bird?  If you are a nature lover you probably have thought about it. 
When I received my first bird identification book I  studied the photographs in it, finding it easier to study birds while they perched still on the page than flying from tree to tree. I quickly identified the Cedar waxwing as my favorite bird.  The sharp, clearly defined markings make me believe it is a bird of strong character.  I would be a cedar waxwing if I could choose which bird to be. I think they prefer fruit to bugs.  I know I do. They are calmly beautiful.  They don't seem pushy and they even share. I love the image of their common trait where the birds politely lined up and pass a berry down the line to the last bird. They travel in groups and seem to have a good time mobbing a tree or bush.   
Now you must realize that, until this week I had only seen cedar waxwings twice in my life. 
The first time was at Spruce Knob Lake, close to the highest point in West Virginia. What a wonderful sight! a crabapple tree full of the beautiful crested birds, each wearing its mask as the group swooped into the tree then just as quickly swooped out, disappearing into the mountain air.

The next time I spotted this elusive favorite was while sitting on my mother-in-law's upstairs deck. A mob came into her backyard pines then quickly left.  I saw them again over the weekend.  I was trying to help my daughter with her garage sale when I noticed birds flitting in and out of the white pine back beside the railroad tracks.  The once Christmas tree had now become a smorgasbord for cedar waxwings who appeared to be eating the tiny pinecone buds. They were gone as soon as they came, moving to the hemlock in the next yard then flying on down the river yard by yard.
I was right to choose them as my favorite.  They are not around to become common to me.  Each sighting makes makes my heart beat faster and makes me smile.  I could do that.  I could fly around with my friends all day eating berries and baby pine cones.  I would even share. But I might like to have my wing tips dipped in baby blue wax rather than the red.  Well . . .I'd have to be a little bit different.

1 comment:

Jain said...

When it comes to birds (or wildflowers, or trees, etc.), I love the one I'm with. I do hyperventilate a bit, though, over Cedar Waxwings. Their scarcity makes them extra-special.