It is clear from the weight data I have gathered when ringing the birds that reaching the right weight is key to the timing of their departure. That weight may vary slightly between individuals but they generally need to increase their body weight by about 40% from their lean winter weight before they are ready to go. That extra weight is predominantly fat but there will be an associated increase in muscle simply to carry all the extra weight.
|This one is surely ready to go.|
|Waxwings are really quite well camouflaged against the bark of trees and a jumble of branches.|
|Zoom in and you can see how the body feathers matches the colour of the bark.|
The mask, bib and under tail coverts help break up the bird's outline.
|I wish I had used a faster shutter speed and this had been sharp|
If you believe that you will believe anything but photoshop was not involved! Still a great photo whether today turns out to be the last day they are here or not. When I was taking the photographs someone passing by said 'hasn't the novelty worn off'. With Waxwings and photographs like these what do you think.