These are not my best photos of the year but the story behind them is not something you experience every day...
This morning I received a phone call from my mother-in-law saying that a woman was trying to get in touch with me about "releasing some birds." She took the woman's contact information and I gave the mystery lady a call. It turned out that this woman, named Laura, is a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in the Buffalo area. She stated that she had two juvenile Cedar Waxwings that were raised since they were hatchlings and were now ready for release. However, she needed to find a wild flock of Waxwings to release them to in order to give them the best chances for survival. Laura stated that no one she knew had seen Cedar Waxwings in the Buffalo area for a few weeks and since Waxwings are so nomadic, she wanted to know if I had seen any in Chautauqua County recently. I told her that I thought I knew where to find a flock. I ran out during my lunch hour from work to see if I could find them. Sure enough, Cedar Waxwings were hanging out right where I expected them to be.
I called Laura back and told her that yes indeed, there were Waxwings in the area. She asked if I would meet her later in the afternoon to show her exactly where they were. She drove down from Buffalo with the caged Waxwings in tow. We found the flock and released the two little ones (top photo). We hoped that the juveniles would see the wild flock and fly out to them. To our delight, the flock of Waxwings found the little ones in just a few minutes and came right over to them. First there were two, then four, then six... It was an amazing thing to see! You could tell that the flock was accepting of the young ones immediately. After a few minutes they all flew off together and it looked like the juveniles had found their new tribe!
Thank you Laura for all that you do for the birds! I hope that we cross paths again some day.
Whooping Crane migration being led by human in ultra light aircraft will begin soon. I followed this blog last year and it was truly incredible to read the daily adventures of their journey from Wisconsin to Florida.
It was a cool and overcast first day of Autumn that didn't stop the march of migrants through the woods on our property. Just before sunset, I was able to catch up with a group of Wilson's Warblers in the thick underbrush. There were also Common Yellowthroat, Hooded and Mourning Warblers along with some Gray Catbirds, Eastern Towhee, Eastern Phoebe and Least Flycatchers in the yard today.
I've seen very few Monarch Butterflies in the area this summer. Today was the first time I saw one in our yard. Considering the fact that we have seven acres full of milkweed and wildflowers, their absence is very disturbing. They are a species in big trouble right now and I hope they can survive this crash in their population.