Last winter, I came home one day to what I thought was a dead bird on my deck. It was so sad.
I picked her up so that I could bury her.....and I felt her heart beating slowly. And then her eyes opened. She was okay!
What was so amazing was that she didn't seem nervous at all that I was holding her. I have held other birds (including a couple that have accidentally flown into my house) and their hearts would always beat rapidly. But this bird was content being held.
I placed her on my leg and took a few pictures- and she willingly obliged. Such a beauty!
Then I filled a dish with water and perched her on the edge. By this time, I had come to the conclusion that this wild bird was destined to be my pet. She would make a great companion, I decided. She'd travel with me to scout nurseries and gardens......Have I mentioned that I am completely delusional?
As I held my new found friend, I expanded her wings, checking to see if she was injured. That's when I noticed the red wax-like tips on her wing feathers. A Cedar Waxwing!
I found my bird field guide to make sure I had identified her correctly (I know, I am such a dork). That's when I realized what was really wrong with my bird....she was drunk.
I learned that Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) are fruit eaters. In the late winter, many of the berries they feast upon have fermented. As they gorge themselves on these fruits, they can become drunk and disoriented. Consequently, they accidentally fly into windows and buildings. Once they sleep off their buzz, they rejoin the flock (if they aren't devoured by a cat first).
Heartbroken that she wasn't going to be my pet, I made her a drunk tank and set her in it.
An hour or so later, she flew off and seemed fully recovered.
The berries on the Weeping Yaupon (Ilex vomitoria 'Pendula') tree by my office window are starting to ripen- Cedar Waxwings love this plant. Seeing the reddening fruit reminded me of my inebriated bird. You think she remembers her afternoon with me?