During May of 2009-10 a group of cedar waxwings spent a week or so in my yard devouring the serviceberries. Last year, however, the serviceberry trees did not like the quick transition from cold in April to hot in May and they barely produced any berries. I never saw any waxwings. This year the trees are doing much better. It has been a gradual temperature transition from April to May and the trees are loaded with berries that are just beginning to ripen. This morning I saw four waxwings picking off the first few. Cedar waxwings really look cool.
I have only seen a few so far. Traditionally they slam into my area all at once around the 2nd week of May - zero to hundreds. I remember my neighbor coming up to me a few years ago saying I just saw a Cedar Waxwing. I didn't want to tell him that they had been nesting in our front yards for 20 straight years. When they arrive this year they will be my ear test. In the past several years their whistling flight call has been getting harder and harder to hear and I don't know whether I still can. The traditional ear test for most aging birders is Blackpoll's high see-see-see. It was a relief to hear one this morning.
I saw something a bit strange this morning. I was watching the serviceberry trees through the binoculars when I saw a pair of waxwings next to each other. One of them picked off a ripe berry, then they passed the berry back and forth several times before one of them ate it.
I've discovered one side-effect of having all the waxwings gorging themselves with serviceberries in my yard. They love to eat and then fly over to my neighbor's tall trees to rest and whistle. In between the serviceberry trees and the other trees the birds are crapping out a ton of seeds.
The waxwings and robins have been eating a ton of berries for the last week, but the trees are still loaded. I don't know how many total waxwings there are, but I've seen at least twelve at once in the berry trees and I can hear their whistling all over.
Cedar Waxwings showed up last week here in the PNW. I find it amazing that you folks in the East have serviceberries - Already? Really?? My serviceberries are not expected to berry until at least mid-June. Only berries ripening over here are Salmonberries, I will have tons of them pretty soon, Which is probably why the waxwings have been hanging around.
Ruth, around here they are known as Shadbush or Shadblow because they bloom when the Shad run up the Delaware River. Up in British Columbia they were called Saskatoon Berries. I don't know what the bears called them around there except time for dinner since it drew them down onto the roadsides where the trees were heaviest. I suspect the waxwings were eating unripe berries because you are right, another name is June Berry, a very appropiate one.