Revisiting Nature’s Lush
The Bohemian Waxwing
Oh look it’s a flock of… OH DEAR GOD HELP US!
Last winter, I wrote a blog about Bohemian waxwings, which are pretty little songbirds that inhabit Skagway during the winter months. It’s not uncommon to see flocks of about 25 or 30 waxwings land on mountain ash trees to eat the berries. Normally, this is a wonderful distraction, especially when the birds get wasted on the fermented berries and stumble all over the yard like the bar just shut down after last call.
However, this foul Skagway winter of 2020 brought very cold weather and vast numbers of waxwings that turn they sky black as they drunkenly flutter from tree to tree. What’s worse than your town being overtaken by birds? Your town being overtaken by drunken birds.
Skagway has become a Bohemian waxwing purgatory where going outside means becoming the target of an aerial assault of mountain ash berry poop. What effect does waxwing excrement have on automotive paint? We’re going to find out! Every day, I go outside and notice another 200 or 300 waxwings have joined the flock. If they ever decide to attack, humans will lose. There is no way a few hundred cold Skagway residents can fight an endless hoard of booze-fueled flying hate-birds outfiitted with berry buzz bombs.
Why are waxwings always Schonckered?
I answered this in last year’s blog, which you obviously didn’t read. There is very little for birds to eat in Skagway during the winter. However, a number of years ago some very smart Skagway residents decided to plant a bunch of invasive trees called European mountain ash. The red berries on the mountain ash remain on the trees throughout the winter. On top of that, mountain ash trees grow literally everywhere. Lucky us.
Bohemian waxwings love eating these berries. By January, the berries start to ferment and the waxwings go hog wild. After devouring every last booze-berry, furious flocks of pickled poultry fly into windows and fall on the ground in a wild bacchanalian orgy the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the Gold Rush.
Why are there suddenly so many waxwings in Skagway?
I have a couple of theories. One thing is certain, Bohemian waxwings like getting plastered on cheap berry wine, so the fact Skagway has hundreds of invasive berry trees isn’t helping. However, there has to be a reason for the sudden infestation of fuddled feathered miscreants.
Our previous four winters have all been quite warm and there was little snow. It’s possible the waxwings were growing in number during this time, with many finding food for forage north of Skagway. This year brought heavy snowfall and cold temperatures, so it makes sense that the waxwings had nothing to eat other than the mountain ash berries brought here by our sensible Skagway forbearers.
I have another theory that I think is more likely. Bohemian waxwings are no-good boozers hell-bent on destroying Skagway. At this point, I think there is only one way to fight back. Instead of a 12-step program, I have a one-step program guaranteed to succeed. Cut down every stupid mountain ash tree within 10 miles of town and starve out the little winged alcoholics.
We will have to act in the dead of night, lest the waxwings see what we’re up to and go on the offensive. Fighting a single drunk two-ounce bird is one thing. Fighting 50,000 of them is something else entirely. Alfred Hitchcock understood this detail and made a documentary about it. And the birds in his film weren’t trousered!
I hope you enjoyed today’s fascinating blog about one of nature’s more curious jerks. If you don’t see a blog published tomorrow, send help.