The Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

A treat to find in your binocular viewfield, the Cedar Waxwing is a silky, shiny collection of brown, gray, and lemon-yellow, accented with a subdued crest, rakish black mask, and brilliant-red wax droplets on the wing feathers. In fall these birds gather by the hundreds to eat berries, filling the air with their high, thin, whistles. In summer you’re as likely to find them flitting about over rivers in pursuit of flying insects, where they show off dazzling aeronautics for a forest bird.

A treat to find in your binocular viewfield, the Cedar Waxwing is a silky, shiny collection of brown, gray, and lemon-yellow, accented with a subdued crest, rakish black mask, and brilliant-red wax droplets on the wing feathers. In fall these birds gather by the hundreds to eat berries, filling the air with their high, thin, whistles. In summer you’re as likely to find them flitting about over rivers in pursuit of flying insects, where they show off dazzling aeronautics for a forest bird.

  • The name “waxwing” comes from the waxy red secretions found on the tips of the secondaries of some birds. The exact function of these tips is not known, but they may help attract mates.
  • Cedar Waxwings with orange instead of yellow tail tips began appearing in the northeastern U.S. and southeastern Canada in the 1960s. The orange color is the result of a red pigment picked up from the berries of an introduced species of honeysuckle. If a waxwing eats enough of the berries while it is growing a tail feather, the tip of the feather will be orange.
  • The Cedar Waxwing is one of the few North American birds that specializes in eating fruit. It can survive on fruit alone for several months. Brown-headed Cowbirds that are raised in Cedar Waxwing nests typically don’t survive, in part because the cowbird chicks can’t develop on such a high-fruit diet.
  • Many birds that eat a lot of fruit separate out the seeds and regurgitate them, but the Cedar Waxwing lets them pass right through. Scientists have used this trait to estimate how fast waxwings can digest fruits.
  • Because they eat so much fruit, Cedar Waxwings occasionally become intoxicated or even die when they run across overripe berries that have started to ferment and produce alcohol.
  • Cedar waxwing

    Cedar waxwing

    Cedar waxwing

    Cedar waxwing

    Cedar Waxwing 2


    Cedar Waxwings feed mainly on fruits year-round. In summer, they feed on fruits such as serviceberry, strawberry, mulberry, dogwood, and raspberries. The birds’ name derives from their appetite for cedar berries in winter; they also eat mistletoe, madrone, juniper, mountain ash, honeysuckle, crabapple, hawthorn, and Russian olive fruits. In summer Cedar Waxwings supplement their fruit diet with protein-rich insects including mayflies, dragonflies, and stoneflies, often caught on the wing. They also pick items such as scale insects, spruce budworm, and leaf beetles directly from vegetation.

  • The cedar waxwing is a member of the family Bombycillidae or waxwing family of passerine birds. It is a medium-sized, mostly brown, gray, and yellow bird named for its wax-like wing tips. Wikipedia
    Scientific name: Bombycilla cedrorum
  • Photographer DOUG WORRALL
  • Information Wikipedia
  • The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Canadian Geese Hamilton Harbour Wildlife

Life and Birth Hamilton Harbour

Canadian geese chicks

Monday may 16 2011

Canada Goose – Branta canadensis-Hamilton


The Canada goose has a long black neck and head with a white band on its cheeks that runs under its chin like a strap. It has black feet and a light tan body with lighter brown or white under its tail. Its black bill haslamellae, or teeth, around the outside edges that are used as a cutting tool. Males and females look alike, although females are usually a little smaller than the males.

Baby Canadian goose


The Canada goose breeds and winters in most of Canada and the United States.

Mute Swan Hamilton Waterfront Park


The Canada goose can be found in a wide variety of habitats including lakes, bays, rivers and marshes. It often feeds in open fields and grasslands.

Habitat is wide


On land, the Canada goose eats a wide variety of grasses, including salt grass and Bermuda grass. It uses its bill to yank the grass out of the ground. It also eats corn, rice and wheat. In the water, the Canada goose sticks its head and upper body under the water, stretches its neck out and uses its bill to scoop up food from the mud and silt.

Canadian Geese and gosling's

Instinctual habits

Life Cycle

The female Canada goose lays her eggs between March and June. She will lay between four to ten whitish eggs in a nest made of grass, reeds and moss and lined with down. The nests are usually on the ground near water. The female hatches the eggs and turns them over often to evenly heat them.The male will guard the female and the nest and will call out a warning if danger approaches. It takes about a month for the eggs to hatch. The chicks break out of the shell with an egg tooth on the top of their bills. It may take them one to two days to completely break out of the shell. The chicks will fly when they are between 40 and 70 days old. Most Canada geese will mate for life.

Family dynamics


Canada geese migrate in large V-shaped formations. They honk loudly while they are flying. They migrate at a slow pace. Male Canada geese can be very aggressive they will often attack predators with their wings and bill.

Sources :Natureworks, Wikipedia

Doug Worrall Photographer

Orchids: Nature’s True Gem

Orchids: Nature’s True Gem

Sunday February 21 2011

natural lighting

What is most interesting about orchids is the number of orchid species outnumber birds by two twice the bird species, and, it outnumbers the mammal species by four times ! More astounding is the orchid plant encompasses 6 – 11% of all seed plants. Orchidaceae (the orchid family) is a morphologically diverse widespread family of monocots in the order Asparagales. It is believed to be the second largest family in flowering plants (only the Asteracae is larger) with up to 26,049 currently accepted species found in 880 gerera. Stunning and long-blooming houseplants that help to bring your home to life in any season, includes Orchids. Bringing the enchanting bright colours of delicate flowers, like the Orchid, into your indoor space during the cold and snowy blah days of January accomplishes two things ; (1) it is a great way to lift your spirits by enjoying the variety of colours and smell of fresh flowers, and, (2) these flowers make your home a cheerier place to be whether on a table beside you while you work on your laptop or reading a book, while sipping a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate. These colourful and exotic orchids are a welcome addition to any room and the various combinations of colours can match unlimited interior design decors.

Easy to grow

Low maintenance

It is the moderate indirect light that make the orchids “smile”. In fact, one lady received an orchid houseplant as a gift, and she put it in a bay window that faced east with indirect light and this orchid bloomed again with twelve orchids on the long branch. Typical house temperatures are fine for orchids, and cooler night temperatures will help aid flower formation, especially during the fall and winter months. Boosting the humidity level in your home does make the orchids grow better. One way to accomplish this is to mist the plant with a spray mist bottle occasionally. Another method is to place the orchid on a tray of water with pebbles to elevate the pot above the water level. In taking care of the orchid houseplant, proper watering and fertilizing are essential for healthy growth. In the houseplant orchid roots sometimes grow vertical, over the pot, and that is normal. Leave them alone as they are adapting to obtain moisture and nutrients, from the air through these epiphtic roots. Orchids should be re-potted after blooming if thepotting mix decomposes. To ensure they grow vigorously , use coarse orchid potting mixes. With proper care, orchids can enhance your living space year-round.

The flower is sexy

If you travel to Hawaii, orchids are in abundance. The most popular one there is a small orchid which is strung for Lays around people’s necks , as a greeting to Hawaii, and they greet you with “Aloha.” The ambiance of these flowers lift your spirits and combined with the sunshine, the beautiful Pacific Ocean around Diamondhead, and Maui’s beaches, and scenes of Dolphins , you forget all your concerns of the mainland. Orchids, the most beautiful ones are the gorgeous South American catteyas, with their often huge, sparkling, rosy-purple and mauve blooms; these are the aristocrats of the orchid family. Other orchid species include: Bulbophyllum (2,000 species); Epidendrum (1,500 species); Dendrobium (1,400 Sepcies),; Pleurothallis (1,000 species) ; the Vanilla (the genus of the orchid plant); and, Orchis (type genus),such as, Phalaenopsis. In 550 B.C. the Chinese emperors coveted the Indigenous Orchid species, of Cymbidium Orchids, for their sweet perfume. The Man Orchid (aceras anthropophorum) was once considered to be an aphrodisiac because the shape of the lip of the orchid flower resembled the figure of a man. In Europe the history and interest in orchids can be traced to Greek and Roman times. In that time period, people knew only of the Temperate Orchids, which were vastly different to the Tropical Orchids. At the end of the 18th Century, merchant ships from the New World (colonies of British, French, Dutch and Portuguese) came back laden with Tropical Orchid flowers and orchid plants. In fact, there is a campfire song – My ship came from China, all laden with tropical Orchid Plants , and imagine my bliss as I fanned myself daily , like this, like this. . Since Tropical Species of the Orchid in the 19th Century, horticulturalists have produced more than 100,000 hybrids and cultivars.

Source: Sat. January 22, 2,011 The Hamilton Spectator, and, web

While visiting a friend this evening was lucky to find a Blooming Orchid. Even better the shots are natural light from a sunset.  This flower took my eye all night

All shots are Camera Raw and cs5 was  not used.

Enjoy the pictures.


Easy to grow

Orchids are beautiful and fascinating plants. But the thought of growing orchids, especially indoors, is intimidating for lots of gardeners. It conjures up pictures of giant greenhouses, complicated humidity, light and heat controls, and horticulturalists in white lab coats. Despite their reputation for being finicky flower divas, orchids aren’t difficult to grow.
Like any plant, they’ll thrive in the right conditions. The trick is sizing up your indoor environment and choosing the orchids that will be happy there. Three of the best orchids for windowsill gardening are: Paphiopedilum, also called paphs; Cattleyas, catts for short; and Phalaenopsis or phals. Among them, you’ll find colors, fragrances and sizes to fit any space.

orchids all year


Orchids aren’t picky about light once they’ve flowered, but light is critical before they bloom. Give them at least six hours a day. Phals and paphs are low-light orchids that prefer an east, west or shaded south window. Catts do best in brighter, south-facing spots. Use sheer curtains to filter harsh sunlight, it can burn the leaves, turning them pale green. If you don’t have any suitable windows, try a 40-watt fluorescent light. Hang it about a foot over the orchids 12 to 14 hours a day.


These plants like it 70 to 80 degrees in the daytime, 10 degrees cooler at night. If you have a winter-blooming phal, put it in the basement or outside in 55 to 60 degree fall air for a few nights to encourage budding. Give them all 40 percent to 80 percent humidity by setting pots in a tray filled with water and gravel. To prevent the risk of wicking excess moisture into the potting medium, be sure the pot is on the gravel, not in the water.


Overwatering is the quickest way to kill an orchid. Wait until the medium is completely dry before watering. I use 20-10-10 liquid fertilizer diluted 4-to-1 once a week to feed catts and phals, every other week with paphs. I flood clear, room-temperature water over the medium until the water runs out the bottom, and then pour the fertilizer solution. Don’t wet the foliage or crown of the plant.

Pests and fungi

A light mist of rubbing alcohol once a week will take care of any scale insects. Ordinary cinnamon will stop fungi. Just sprinkle a bit on the wet infected spots and the crown.

Orchids can be a little tricky, but giving them the ideal environment — along with a bit of time and attention — will reward you with a great show through winter.


Home and garden


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