Bohemian Parties and Murmurations

The Bohemians gathered and partied until one of their own crashed the event and ended the fun, all on a Sunday afternoon in northern Minnesota.

Bohemian Waxwing - Northern Minnesota, May 2013
The coast is clear — party time!
Bohemian Waxwing - Northern Minnesota, May 2013
Calling to his friends, the party invitation is issued.
Bohemian Waxwing - Northern Minnesota, May 2013
One, two, three, four . . . let’s get this party started!
Bohemian Waxwing - Northern Minnesota, May 2013
Incoming . . . party crasher!
Bohemian Waxwing - Northern Minnesota, May 2013
The remaining guests look miffed, as the party crasher remained unconcerned.

Bohemian Waxwings are such handsome birds; often confused with Cedar Waxwings, the rusty-orange undertails of this group of birds collecting at the water dish confirmed they were the larger Bohemian variety.  A handy guide for telling the two varieties apart can be found on the 10,000 Birds website.  During the fall and spring migration seasons, we often have large groups of waxwings congregating in our crabapple and mountain ash trees, gorging themselves until they are intoxicated on the berries.

The late spring or extended winter (depending on whether you’re a glass half-full versus glass half-empty kind of person) has resulted in extended migration patterns for a large variety of birds, making for some interesting sights and birdwatching.  As I ran errands yesterday, I was treated to the awesome vision of what appeared to be over 100 white pelicans circling overhead, twisting and turning on the wind currents — akin to a murmuration on a smaller scale (although large groups of pelicans are referred to as “squadrons” or “pods” rather than “murmurations”).  It brought to mind that captivating starling murmuration video, recorded by two young women from their canoe:


Take the time to let the simple wonder of nature touch you at least once every day.

Ciao! ~ Kat

37 thoughts on “Bohemian Parties and Murmurations

  1. Great post, thank you; your photos and background information was very helpful. I have been using the CornellLab of Ornithology site. I went out to the 10,000 Birds site and have added this to my resource list to id birds.


  2. Lovely post, Kat!
    When I was a little girl, my mother gave me a bird book for Christmas. It was one of my favorite gifts and was the object of my attention on many summer days as I tried to identify the birds I saw. Though I never saw them in person as a kid, my most favorite birds in the book were waxwings. I recognized them immediately when I saw your photos!
    Thanks for the story and warm memories!


  3. So funny how the biggest bird is the party crasher… What an incredible video, reminds me of the piece last week on VPR about passenger pigeons in the NorthEast (pre-extinction) – good thing starlings aren’t a food group…


  4. What a great post and video! I’ve not seen waxwings of any kind here but I’ve seen them when I’ve gone North. Up until about 10 years ago, we had a flock of starlings — after watching the numbers in your video’s murmuration, I couldn’t possibly call it anything but a flock — that would gather and swoop every evening. Unfortunately, West Nile virus depleted it and it’s only started to rebound in the last couple years. Good to see there are still places in the wild where birds of a feather can play together.


    1. Just a little ground dish that you could use as feeder, bird bath, water dish . . . I have found that having some water sources on the ground and some at a classic bird bath height attract different kinds of birds. Fun to watch!


  5. Sid Dunnebacke

    Fabulous photos, Kat. I don’t see waxwings often, but when I do it’s in a gathering of dozens. Lovely birds.


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