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Posts tagged “cedar waxwing

Road Trip

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Sand Hill Cranes (IN)

By: Pat Coate

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…or so many parents think as summer begins to fade and school swings back into session. For me, the back to school ritual has come to include a 600 mile trek to the Midwest to drop my daughter off at college. It is always a fun trip – I love having a captive audience and our conversation topics are varied and entertaining. We have also started a little tradition of (or really, my daughter puts up with) a contest to see which we see more of along the way– state license plates or bird species.

Some trip highlights:

• Packing the car was a bit like playing Tetris; the neighbors were amazed all her stuff actually fit.
• Despite the shaky economy, there seem to be a lot of people traveling. We saw a record 37 state license plates (74%), 3 Canadian provinces, and a car with Diplomat plates – going about 85 mph, of course.
• Birds ranged from bald eagle in WNY to sand hill cranes along the Indiana tollway to the ubiquitous house sparrow found at most stops along the way. We totaled 32 species versus the 37 state license plates.
• Made a quick but productive birding stop at North Chagrin Reserve east of Cleveland. More details in a future post.


Bird Banding at Allegany State Park

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Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (juvenile)

By: Pat Coate

Enjoyed spending a recent Saturday morning at Tom’s bird banding station in Allegany State Park. It is always fun to be able to see the birds so closely – and to really examine the features that often only seem to exist in field guides!

This second year yellow-bellied sapsucker was a bit unusual because it has not started showing any red on its head (or throat if it is male).

Tom’s bird banding is part of the Institute of Bird Population’s MAPS program. MAPS stands for Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship. Analysis of the data Tom and other bird-banders collect “provides critical information relating to the ecology, conservation, and management of North American landbird populations, and the factors responsible for changes in their populations.” (Source:

Cedar Waxwing Courtship Behavior

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Cedar Waxwing couple

By: Pat Coate

In May the Cattaraugus Bird Club had some outings at the Eschelman Tract of Pfeiffer Nature Center. During one of these outings I had the opportunity to observe this pair of cedar waxwings. They engaged in the classic “side-hop” and mate feeding courtship behavior described in the Stokes Nature Guides A Guide to Bird Behavior Volume II.

This behavior consisted of the birds perched near each other. One, with food, would hop towards the other and pass the food to its mate. The second bird would hop away, then hop back towards the first bird and food would be exchanged again.


Puff the Magic Cedar Waxwing

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Cedar Waxwing Pre-puff

By: Pat Coate

I love telecommuting and very happily spent the last two weeks on a working vacation up in the Muskoka Lakes region of Ontario. I spent a cool, rainy Labor Day visiting Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre in Midland. I had seen a tree full (~30) of cedar waxwings by Black Ash Pond early in the day but the lighting was tough for a decent picture. I checked back in the same area later in the day. This lone, inquisitive cedar waxwing landed fairly close so I decided to try a few shots despite continued tough lighting conditions. To my amusement, it “blew up” right in front of me. The pictures aren’t the greatest but it was a fun experience to see this sleek, attractive bird puff itself out in such dramatic fashion. Not sure if it was trying to warm itself or if it was a reaction to my presence but it didn’t stay puffed very long.