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Today's waxwings (pics included)

Steve Foss

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It was -15 this morning up on Finn Hill, but there was no wind and I wanted to fish lake trout after two nice days of doing that on Friday and Saturday at the Burntside Bash.

But I was a good boy, and stayed indoors to frame a series of wild wolf prints for an upcoming show in Ely (Ely ArtWalk from Feb. 1 through 11, with many artists displaying their work in many business storefront windows).

And you know, if I'd gone fishing, I would have missed the Bohemian waxwings when they came to the back yard. We only have one smallish tree with fruit in our yard, so when 30 waxwings drop in, it doesn't take them long to do their work, and it's a lot more likely I'll miss it by being gone than catch them in the act.

Guess there's a sliver lining to most everything.

Canon 20D, 100-400L IS at various focal lenghts, iso400, 1/640 at f8 handheld



And a party-crashing starling grin.gif


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It's a buckthorn. It's a noxious tree in Minnesota, and if you have one and the buckthorn police catch you, they may try to make you cut it down and spank you for allowing it to grow in the first place. Problem is, it's the only fruit-bearing tree/shrub in my back yard until my new crabapples start to bear, and I won't cut it down until I give the birds an alternative.

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Buckthorn berries are not neccesarily good for birds and also intoxicate them to some extent I am told. I kill all of it that pops up in my yard.

Steve, I like the last pic of the Waxwing best, it's closer to eye level and more appealing. What F stop did you shoot it with?

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Steve, I like the last pic of the Waxwing best, it's closer to eye level and more appealing. What F stop did you shoot it with?

Buzz, it was f8 like the rest, but about 200mm instead of 400mm, which increased the depth of focus, allowing the first and second bird both to be acceptably sharp. These birds actually were higher up the tree than the second image, though the first was at a sharper angle than this last image. But thanks for your opinion. Could just be that the difference in focal length skewed the apparent angle.

I don't know that buckthorn berries are more intoxicating per se than any other berries/fruit, but like any of them if they drop off and begin to ferment, you've got wino birds. grin.gif

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I have long enjoyed reading the posts in this forum and enjoyed your photographs, but never felt the desire to comment. However as a crusader against buckthorn I would like to show you some info.

I took this from:http://www.outbacknursery.com/buckthorn.htm

I have read similar info published by the DNR but could not find a URL to post

"Buckthorn Kills Native Plants! Native plants cannot naturally compete with Buckthorn. Both Buckthorns are found in many forest understories, wetlands, prairies, river valleys. Native plants are our songbird’s natural food source. When Buckthorn is all that remains, the birds eat the Buckthorn berries.

Buckthorn Kills Songbirds! When native plants disappear from an area where Buckthorn is dense, birds eat the berries of Buckthorn. However, the fruit of Buckthorn causes a severe, laxative reaction in the birds. Hence the name Rhamnus cathartic – a , cathartica. If Buckthorn berries are the only source of berries in an area, the birds will eat the berries, excrete, eat berries excrete, repeatedly until they become dehydrated and weak."

I am not trying to be critically but it seemed to be the consensus that the birds are getting drunk off buckthorn, when it's actually much worse than that. I hope that your tree some year soon becomes the source of food and you can remove the buckthorn.

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Thanks myotis, and welcome to FM. Good to see you here. Interesting handle you chose. Sort of batty. grin.gif

I know that buckthorn is a bad one, but didn't know it acted as a laxative on birds. Thanks for filling me in on that. I've been planning on cutting this one down as soon as my crabapple starts to bear fruit (next spring). The stupid buckthorn is the only fruiting tree in my whole yard, although I have lots of fruiting shrubs such as honeysuckle, elderberry and a few others. frown.gif

In fact, all the berries on it are gone now after the waxwings blew through, so I'll probably take care of it yet this winter. I'll leave the stump for my platform feeder to rest on, and will chemically treat the stump to kill the roots.

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