I'm going to miss living next to these trees very much. So to try to remember what it's been like to live here for the past few years, here's a compilation of all the posts I've made featuring these trees and the creatures they've brought to our windows, season by season. (Plus one new sighting that I haven't had a chance to post about yet.) This isn't everything we've seen here, of course, just everything that's stuck around long enough for me to photograph it. Dear Red Cedar trees, thank you for everything, and I only hope future human residents appreciate you as much as we have!
- Migration brings unusual and fancy visitors through the Red Cedar's branches, including Yellow-rumped Warblers (Mar 2012), Pine Warblers (Apr 2012), sleek Cedar Waxwings (Apr 2013), and brilliant Palm Warblers (Apr 2014).
- On some soaking rainy day in late April, orange-tentacled aliens (actually cedar-apple rust galls) appear (Apr 2012).
- Sleepy Chipping Sparrows rest on these branches (Apr 2011).
- And molting American Goldfinches forecast warmer weather (Mar 2014).
- The year's new youngsters show up to explore this part of the yard, including
baby Tufted Titmice (Jun 2011) and teenaged Northern Cardinals (Aug 2013), while some parents -- like this scraggly Black-capped Chickadee (Jul 2013) -- show signs of wear.
- With our window feeder next to these sheltering trees, resident seed-eating birds come in for especially close views, including Black-capped Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, and Downy Woodpeckers (Aug 2013).
- During occasional (or, in recent years, more than occasional) heat waves, panting House Sparrows (Jul 2011) and Black-capped Chickadees (Sep 2012) hang out in these branches trying to keep cool.
- Titmice bathe and forage here as well (Aug 2012).
- This summer, these trees have become a daily relaxing parlor for a couple of Gray Squirrels. Usually, these squirrels doze on separate branches, but a few days ago, they settled onto the same branch for a grooming session:
Fall is a huge time for these trees:
- These branches become a prime insect-foraging spot for songbirds on their southward migration. The wide variety of birds I've seen here include American Redstarts (Sep 2012), Red-eyed Vireos and Magnolia Warblers (Sep 2012), Yellow-throated Vireos (Sep 2013), Northern Parulas, Black-throated Green Warblers, and Cape May Warblers (Sep 2013), Red-breasted Nuthatches and Ruby-crowned Kinglets (Oct 2012), Blackpoll Warblers (Oct 2012), and Golden-crowned Kinglets (Oct 2012).
|A Cape May Warbler in September 2013|
- The biggest draw for these trees, though, comes from their crops of berry-like cones that ripen in October. One of these trees is male and the other is female, and perhaps their closeness helps to optimize pollen dispersal and cone production on the female tree. Tons of creatures seem to love these things, and we end up with a festival outside our windows. Feasting animals include Northern Cardinals, American Robins, and Gray Squirrels (Oct 2011), Northern Flickers (Oct 2012), Cedar Waxwings (Oct 2013), Yellow-rumped Warblers (Oct 2012 and 2013), huge flocks of Fish Crows (Oct 2013), and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers (Oct and Dec 2013).
|A feasting Yellow-Rumped Warbler in October 2013|
- Fall visitors to the window feeder include Carolina Wrens (Oct 2013) and Black-capped Chickadees and Dark-eyed Juncos cleaning up seeds dropped on the rooftop (Dec 2013).
- Assorted other sights include White-breasted Nuthatches (Nov 2011) and Blue Jays that make funny sounds (Sep 2012)
- Adorable birds look even more adorable as they forage among the Red Cedars' snow-covered branches, including House Finches (Dec 2013), Black-capped Chickadees (Jan 2013), Dark-eyed Juncos, Northern Cardinals, and Tufted Titmice (Feb 2013), and Northern Mockingbirds (Mar 2013).
- Several birds continue to clean up the remaining cones from fall's bounty, including Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers (Jan 2014), Yellow-rumped Warblers (Jan 2014), and European Starlings that have gradually (Feb 2012) won me over (Jan 2014) to their crisp newly-feathered beauty.
- Snowfall brings crazy bird activity at the window feeder (Dec 2013).
- The cedar trees serve as part of a highway for our acrobatic Gray Squirrels all year, but the leafless maple tree next door makes the squirrels' dramatic approaches and leaps easier to see (Feb 2011).