Spark Bird – Cedar Waxwing

8 03 2010

Cedar Waxwing - Luke Tiller

Everyone seems to have a ‘spark’ bird, something that grabbed their attention so much that on reflection they realize that it was at that point that they had embarked on the road to becoming an avid birder.  So here’s my ‘spark’ bird. It was March 2003 and I was merrily feeding the birds in my yard with my new feeder setup when a flock of Cedar Waxwings suddenly showed up and started scarfing down the multiflora rose berries tangled in my apple tree. It was then that I realized that I needed to start spreading my wings and heading further afield to track down birds. This week the waxwings were around in my new yard in Greenwich (see picture above) feasting on privet berries.  Not as noteworthy as their ‘Bohemian’ cousins but as pretty and up there with my favorite common Connecticut birds.



2 responses

10 03 2010
Brian Webster

My spark bird was a Golden Eagle on the Eagle River Cruise out of Essex on the CT RIVER in February of 2007. The Bald eagles were amazing, but I had seen two before that trip. But when the boat naturalist/birder (I wish I remember who was running it that day!) yelled out, ‘Golden, straight above!’.

The sunlight was perfect to see the golden head of an adult Golden Eagle. He continued on his own way, but I was hooked. I was already feeding birds in the yard… only knowing House Sparrows, Blue Jays, Chickadees, Goldfinches, Doves, Turkeys, and woodpeckers.. no idea which WPs though. After that I saved for a pair of binoculars, and began my obsession!

My first notebook entry was on March 16th, 2007, and will always be one of my all-time favorite birds…. it was a drawing of a Junco singing from a very low perch in a bush on the edge of my woods. My drawing wasn’t great, but it was good enough to successfully ID my first bird species on my own. I noted the two-tone body, the pink bill, and the white flashes on the outside of the tail.

My mother’s spark bird was our RT Hummers in our yard this past summer. I got to choose the plants and feeder set-up (so I loaded it with salvia, columbine, butterfly bush, fuscia, gladiolus,, and hibiscus) so we had a nesting pair (never foud the nest), and up to 5 at a time. We had one feeder that suction-cupped to the window, that was hidden enough by plants for out-of-range males to drink from until the main man dove down from his Oak upon realization. Now, after enjoying the hummers, she asks, ‘Whats that? What’s that?’

I think we’ve all had a spark bird. Good post.


11 03 2010

Cool bird. I wonder if I was on that boat in a past life with CAS. Anyway not difficult to see why you got into birding. I remember seeing my first Golden Eagle as a kid sitting in a gondola going up some mountains in Italy. I think I was 5 – my dad spotted it – not sure who was more impressed me or my dad but it still sticks in my mind quite vividly. It’s cool to see that same kind of response from people on the Eagle Boats or showing kids their first eagle down here at the hawkwatch in Greenwich.

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