Hudson Gardens, May 25, 2019

When your walk starts with great looks at Cedar Waxwings, you know it’s going to be a great day!  We saw a 3 of these gorgeous birds hopping around low in a tree, then visiting the small stream behind the Visitor’s Center.

This spring, we have seen and heard many reports of Western Tanagers so we were on the look-out for them, as well as the vibrant Bullock’s Oriole.  We were not disappointed!

In addition to these colorful birds, we also saw a couple of spunky House Wrens, busily hopping in and out of a wood pile, most likely looking for nesting material or a snack.  Nearby, we saw a nestbox full of sticks – a sign of a busy wren!  Males build several nests in the spring, perhaps as decoys, but also to give the female a choice of nest sites.  Never fear – the wrens don’t lay eggs on a pile of sticks and hope the babies don’t fall through the cracks.  Once they’ve selected a nest to use, they build a soft cup for their eggs. Wrens are larger-than-life characters – they are tiny birds that sing loud and long, and seem to have the energy of the Energizer Bunny.


We saw several Yellow Warblers that seemed to follow the same path as us for a bit, foraging in the tree canopy.  We all got to experience “warbler neck,” that painful feeling you get from looking straight up in a tree for warblers.  I’m considering, and I’m only half-joking here, a post-birding yoga session.  Perhaps there is a “downward bird” pose, or maybe “hunting heron” that will help us stretch out our necks?


Near the end of our adventure, we saw two Snowy Egrets and eventually got a good look of their black legs and yellow feet.  Word on the street is Snowy Egrets will use those yellow toes like fishing lures. They wiggle them to attract fish, and then snatch up whoever unwittingly takes the “bait.”   Makes me wonder how many times they snatch their toes in the process.


Til next time,


Jennifer O’Keefe


Western Tanager (C) Bill Schmoker
Bullock’s Oriole (c) Bill Schmoker

Species List

Blue-winged Teal                             2

Mallard                                               20

Common Merganser                        1

Mourning Dove                                 1

Broad-tailed Hummingbird           2

Double-crested Cormorant            2

American White Pelican                 5

Great Blue Heron                             1

Snowy Egret                                      2

Egret spp.                                           1

Turkey Vulture                                  1

Accipiter spp.                                     1

Red-tailed Hawk                               1

Western Wood-Pewee                     1

Black-billed Magpie                         2

Cliff Swallow                                      35

House Wren                                       2          

American Robin                                8

Cedar Waxwing                                 4

House Finch                                      5

American Goldfinch                        1

Chipping Sparrow                            3

Song Sparrow                                    2

Bullock’s Oriole                                5

Red-winged Blackbird                    50

Common Grackle                             7

Yellow Warbler                                 5

Western Tanager                             2




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