Backyard Ruckus

The simple joys of observing wildlife in my backyard are always refreshing.

On two mid-November mornings, I had the satisfying experience of watching dozens of birds in the wooded area of my backyard. The scene was lively, with the birds busily engaging with their surroundings. It was a spectacle that truly caught my attention.

As I watched, I noticed many of these birds were mainly drawn to the juniper berries. It was fascinating to see how they fed on them with eagerness. I enjoyed how they interacted with the berries and moved around the branches.

Some birds were quick and agile, darting in and out of the foliage. In contrast, others seemed more methodical and deliberate in their movements. Observing and photographing them gave me a deeper appreciation for the diversity of bird species that visit my backyard.

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) · November 16, 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR

I couldn't resist the opportunity to photograph these moments. With my XT-3 camera and XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR lens, I tried to capture the essence of this lively scene. The challenge was photographing the birds in a way that conveyed the liveliness and energy of their feeding activity. I focused on getting shots that showed their interactions with the berries and each other, hoping to freeze these fleeting moments in time.

This is the first time I have seen a Cedar waxwing. Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) are medium-sized birds with a blend of brown, grey, and yellow plumage, noted for their bright yellow tail tips and red, waxy wingtips. They are considered highly social and often seen in flocks, especially in berry-rich locations. They display unusual behaviours like passing berries among flock members.

Cedar waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)
Cedar waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) · November 16, 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR

Their diet mainly consists of fruit and insects, adapting to habitats with abundant fruit-bearing trees and shrubs, such as gardens, orchards, and riverbanks. While Cedar Waxwings are somewhat migratory, moving in response to fruit availability, their migratory patterns vary; in some regions, they are year-round residents, while in others, they appear more seasonally. This adaptability in feeding and migration underscores their reliance on healthy, fruit-rich environments.

Cedar waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)
Cedar waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) · November 16, 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR

The simple joys of watching wildlife in my backyard are always refreshing.

Author: Khürt Williams

A human who works in information security and enjoys photography, Formula 1 and craft ale.

6 thoughts on “Backyard Ruckus”

  1. Todd Henson says:

    Ah yes, backyard birding really is a great thing. I love how well the robins stand out, lovely color contrast between bird and greenery. And cedar waxwings are a favorite bird of mine this time of year. I've only recently noticed them around locally, as well. They tend to show up when the berries on my front tree begin falling and making a mess on the sidewalk. 🙂

    1. This is the first time I have seen a cedar waxwing. I’m sure these birds have been visiting this tree yearly. The tree was here before the homes were built. I just never noticed them before.

      The Dark-eyed Juncos (no photographs this year as yet) seem to prefer the seeds from the fallen burr balls of the American sweetgum tree in the front of the house. Our cat loves watching them from the bedroom window.

  2. Egídio says:

    Great photos, Khürt. I love it when those birds come to our backyard. They are so festive.

    1. I’ll enjoy as much of it as I can. I appreciate that it will be freezing soon, and most wildlife will either have migrated farther south or hunkered down for the winter.

  3. I really like the colors in the first photo. Well done capturing it.

    1. I had tended to overlook the American Robin until I saw the bright red in the underbelly.

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