Wildlife in Cary: Cedar Waxwings, Party Animals

Story by Matt Young. Photos by Karen Thor.

Cary, NC – For years, my neighbor, Karen Thor, and I used to laugh at these beautiful, funny-acting birds that showed up annually in our yards. We each have a bunch of bird baths, feeders and houses on our properties.

At block parties we compare notes on what we have seen and what is nesting now and how the bird populations have changed over the years as our unfeathered neighborhood friends roll their mammalian eyes.  Whatever. Birds can do that in different directions.

Anyway, these amazing birds are called Cedar Waxwings. The reason they are so funny is they fly around, crashing into each other. They stumble. They fall out of trees. They fly into trees.

I have never been one to shun animal calamity humor.  And trust me, it is hilarious. But, for the record, to my knowledge, no bird was ever harmed in my yard (I hope).

The reason for this behavior is – they are drunk. That’s right – drunk. Seems their favorite food is berries. And they apparentally have a pension for the fermented ones.

You know that song “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall”? These birds will actually pass the berries from one bird to another as they perch on an object. “Take one down, pass it around…” Not kidding.

Karen took some pictures of the subject birds – while sober (the birds were for sure, I don’t know about Karen at the time of the photos), that are currently to be seen around Cary.


1 reply
  1. Lindsey Chester
    Lindsey Chester says:

    Karen I love your photos! What cute little birds- Being a big local bird watcher, I will need to keep my eyes peeled for these guys

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