Yesterday was the longest day of the year and I decided to take advantage of the extra daylight by doing some backyard bird watching. The serviceberry (Amelanchier) trees are full of ripe berries and the birds are taking full advantage. One of the first to take advantage was a male American Robin (Turdus migratorius). The video below shows him chowing down on the tasty treats. At one point he almost falls off the tree while choosing a ripe one and he ends up with a very messy bill.
The next visitors to the serviceberry tree was a pair of male House Finches (Carpodacus mexicanus). I was surprised to see them since they aren’t very prominent visitors in our yard. It was interesting to see the different methods the birds use to down the berries. Instead of the typical “down the hatch whole” method that most birds use for these relatively small berries, the finches preferred to nibble at them a little bit at a time. Here you can see just how messy that process can get.
And last, but not least, the most common birds found pigging out on the berries, the Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum). These feathered fiends descend on the tree in squadrons and turn it into a quivering mass of green and red. They have a call much like a police whistle that announces when they are arriving in the area. It can be very difficult to catch them as they dart around the tree plucking at the ripe berries and taking off without much warning. Here are a few clips of the waxwings.
I always enjoy this time of year for watching the feeding frenzies on these trees, but I wish there could be an endless supply. I always miss the birds when the berries are gone as it is a great way to guarantee some birdwatching. Next up the birds will be taking on the blueberries!