Date: 2/9/18 12:59 pm
From: Brush Freeman <brushfreeman...>
Subject: [texbirds] Waxwings
...
Am sitting at my "desk" watching Cedar Waxwings completely strip our huge
Possumhaw of its berries this afternoon through the window 6 feet from me.
..they come in waves and I estimate there are around 130 birds in the
flock, give or take....We have had waxwings all winter but the berries were
not ripe enough for them until yesterday and today, I suppose. The tree
will likely be bare by nightfall if not before. They worked it from the
tip-top downward and only the very bottom limbs still sport fruit. Each
bird comes and rapidly harvests 5 sometimes 6 berries, swallowing them
whole, before flying up to a mulberry. The berries pass through the birds
very quickly.
They seem capable of digesting and passing these berries in as little as
30-35 minutes. They can stuff themselves full even to the point of having
berries lodged in the esophagus awaiting their turn for digestion. I see
birds like this in this flock. Waxwings possess an oversized liver which
helps in digestion and also helps them deal with berry toxins and fermented
fruit that can contain alcohol...at least to a degree, they can still get
drunk on fermented berries if too many are consumed.
If these birds were here much longer, the porches and walkways would be a
complete mess...As it is, there will be a lot of Possumhaw sprouts to have
to pull in the spring under that mulberry. Just like last year.

--

Brush Freeman
<http://www.biospatialsevices.com>
Utley & Cedar Park, Texas


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