….cedar waxwing

April 23, 2016

As a kid, having to enter the annual Science Fairs in Jr. High–the ones where invited experts walked around with clipboards trying to find possible prize winners–I had exhibits which were often concerned with birds–songbirds, usually–their migration patterns and predators, and fun facts.

I never won a prize.  That usually went to kids who electrocuted themselves voluntarily in order to prove water and wires don’t mix–or the kids who cross fertilized seeds and created vegetative freaks.

The shortlist I had then in the 50s (living in upper New York State) was to see any kind of Bunting (they looked outrageously colourful), our State Bird the American Bluebird (which I never did see, and still haven’t), any kind of Tanager, and of course, any kind of Waxwing.

cedar waxwing miniature 5x7 april 2016

“Berry Picking”

Cedar Waxwing, 4″ x 6″, watercolour, Saunders Waterford Hot Press 140# Paper


Having lived now in seven different Canadian locations, from coast to coast, I’ve been able to photograph a Western Tanager in our front garden, a pair of Mountain Bluebirds (astonishingly blue), and a group of Cedar Waxwings which descended on our Red Maple branches and began dismantling a Robin’s nest, rather than having to bother scavenging their own material.

The Waxwings were much smaller than expected, and every bit as fascinating as I’d hoped.  Their ‘bandit’s mask’ gives them an allure other birds lack, and their interesting ‘song’ and penchant for travelling about in flocks makes them worth having to wait 60 years to see them.

15 Responses to “….cedar waxwing”

  1. ….how very kind, Nimi!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. nimi naren said

    Absolutely beautiful Lance

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rebecca said

    That’s so nice to hear – thank you Lance! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like the diagonal sense in your painting: lower right to upper left for the branches and the reddest of the berries, lower left to upper right for the bird and some of the foreground and background berries.


  5. …I am so enjoying your illustrated travels and commentary Rebecca, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ….mmmm, wild cherries! You are fortunate on both counts, Teri–thank you very much!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It took you to alert me to the irony of masked birds robbing Robins, as I didn’t make the connection til now, Cynthia. And how appropriate. It was, in fairness, an unused one (had it not been, the male Robin would have visited birdie grief on them). Thank you for your constant kindnesses.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you David! Mountain Ash are their favourite, and there are tons around here 🙂


  9. Thank you Becca, and yes 🙂 their ‘Robin’ mask (oh, the irony–actual Robins would be offended) is a throwback to another time!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I can see why it was worth the wait,the black mask is stunning,
    batman and robin style ( old version of course,1970 which was much better).

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Wonderful love the berries….


  12. I love how the bird with the “bandit mask” stole material from the Robin’s nest…and how your love of birds comes through to us so beautifully in the paintings and stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Teri C said

    Wonderful painting and great information.
    I always get so excited when I see these birds feeding on our wild cherry tree.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Rebecca said

    Lance, you are doing a wonderful job with these bird portraits! 🙂


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