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DRUNKEN WAXWINGS AND AN
UNUSUAL HUMMINGBIRD 'FEEDER'


OTHER WILD BIRD STORIES
Bird Watching Stories
(Go Back to Wild Bird Page Contents)
 
» No Barbeque this Summer 
» Barn Swallow "Mama"  
» Just How Does a Bird Eat Bees?  
» My Birdwatching Adventures in Costa Rica
  » Just Another Golden Eagle 
  » Four Birds in One Tree: 
A Few Days of Birdwatching in England
» Four Calling Birds??? 
» A Very Unique Cardinal 
» Narcissism or Territorial
Defense: Macho Cardinal
 
  
» The Last Companion Carolina Paroquet 
 » The Ever-Popular Chickadee 
» Convergent Evolution: Meadowlark and Longclaw 
» Barrel Cactus Confrontation 
» Galahs Playing Around and Around and Around ...  
» Mesmerizing a Goldfinch 
 » Who Made Up This Stuff?
Bird Call Mnemonics
 
» The Best Mimic?  
» Prairie Chickens and Woodcocks:
Missouri Ornithology
  
» Mob Mentality: Who is Really in Control of the Skies?
» The Owl Who Sat Down Beside Me 
» Meeting Hot Shot: The Toddler Peregrine Falcon  
» Seeing 'Sea Parrots'
in Alaska
 
 
» A Rare and Unusual Bird 
Meeting Roger Tory Peterson
   
» Raven Showoffs 
» Reddish Egrets and Canopy Feeding 
 »  Robins and Worms 
Hear, See, Smell, or Feel?
   
 » What Are You Doing Here? Scissortail Flycatcher
» Hospital Hallucination  
» Wild Bird "Attacks": Just Misunderstandings? 
» Drunken Waxwings and an Unusual Hummingbird Feeder
 »  Aransas in the Fog:
Whooping Cranes
 
 » Acorn Woodpecker Defending its Stash
» Why Woodpeckers Don't Get Headaches: Built in Shock Absorber 

THE WILD YARD IN REDLANDS, CALIFORNIA

by Sally Blanchard
 
As I explained in my story about the owl coming down to sit on my lap, there was a time when it seemed that wild birds seemed to be more interested in me than I was in them. It was during the time right after my family moved back to California. Our house in Redlands was across the hill from a heavily wooded area (now a housing development) and on the other side of the hill was a canyon full of orange groves. I watched all sorts of wildlife including bobcats, a fox family with maturing kits, racoons, skunks, squirrels, possums, cottontails, bats, and all sorts of birds. One evening I went out to the garage to get something out of the freezer and I was startled to find a roadrunner up in the eaves of the roof.  She decided that the garage was her territory and was not happy with me being there. She virtually chased me back into the house. For the next few weeks, she was almost always in the garage and we couldn't figure out how she got in and out. It seemed as if she turned invisible when we opened the garage door and snuck in or out. Then there was the raven who flew down on a daily basis for weeks to 'help' my father water the plants in the yard. We always had California quail in the yard and they became my mother's absolute favorite bird. The Anna's hummingbird was probably her second favorite and we had several hummingbird feeders around the yard. 

We had pyracantha bushes along the back hill of our yard and the robins and cedar waxwings would eat the berries. Towards the end of the summer, the berries would ferment and the birds loved them that way. They loved them so much, they gorged themselves on the fermented berries until they got drunk. They stumbled around and literally 'littered' the yard with their drunken little bodies. My mother was quite an enabler in regards to my father who had a serious drinking problem and she also took on the responsibility of protecting the drunken birds from predators. Until the robins and waxwings recovered from their drunken stupor, my mother stood guard near the patio door. If she saw any cats, she would run outside shaking her broom and yelling at them. My father referred to her as a bird witcher. This will always be one of my fondest memories of my mother. 

I would occasionally sun bathe on the back patio and I usually fell asleep. The chaise lounge was near one of the hummingbird feeders. One afternoon, an incredible urge to sneeze suddenly woke me up. I immediately went cross-eyed to discover an Anna's hummingbird exploring one of my nostrils with his tongue and beak. When I moved, he immediately flew away. I never experienced a sensation like that again nor would I want to but it was definitely a weird sensation.    
 

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