Out of the past, and on to my finger

I came across this picture the other day and it brought back some memories of a bizarre day.
One windy March day I was walking back home from the restaurant on the corner with my friend Kaas, we were about to cross paths with this couple walking a baby stroller when they stopped a few feet in front of us and seemed to be fascinated by something on the handle of the stroller.
As we walked up they said, "Hey, check out this crazy bird that just landed on the stroller! It won't get off!" So we all looked at this little bird that was hopping back and forth along the stroller handle, peeping and looking around at all of us and the baby. Finally they shook the stroller handle and the bird flew off. We walked back to the house going, 'that was weird', we wondered if it was tame and got away from someone, etc., but it looked like a wild bird, small and brown with yellow markings and a dash of red.
I wasn't doing my naturalist thing at the time and didn't know birds very well. At first I thought it was some sort of cardinal as it had that similar cowl-like feather thing on the back of it's head.
So no big deal, we went in the house, played some CD's and looked at some websites. Then about 45 minutes later we went back outside and were sitting around in lawn chairs when this same bird flies up and lands on the handle of the Weber kettle! Definitely the same bird. So I put my finger out like a perch and it hopped right up there and started hopping and peeping up and down my finger and arm. I told Kaas to please cautiously get up and get the camera and a bowl of birdseed, all the while she was getting them the little bird was peeping at me and hopping around, pausing intermittently to pick up a twig or a seed then hopping to the ground or on my jeans. She put out the bowl of seeds and the bird jumped right in and started chowing down and peeping while we snapped a few pictures. Then it hopped back up on me again and at one point pulled out a few whiskers while on it's way up to grab some bits of seed from my hair. (It was really windy that day, stuff was blowing all over the place. We initially thought that the bird stopped the stroller because it was too tired to fly in the strong unceasing wind)
So all in all, the bird hung out with us for 20 or 30 minutes , then flew off heading southwest. I found out from a co-worker that it was a Cedar Waxwing. His book said that they usually travel in small flocks and don't usually stray from the flock, that they are migratory and travel along waterways for food. (At that time I was living about 100 yards from a creek that runs through the city.)
Later I was telling one of my neighbors about the bird and she said she had seen it too, that it had landed on her back while she was raking the yard and rode around with her for about 10 minutes. That was so cool. I was kind of hoping it would stay around and come out when it saw me out in the yard, and I'd have a bird friend, but I have never seen it again since that day...

January 14, 2008



A rather hypnotic snapping turtle checks me out from the tank at Lebanon Hills Nature Center, Eagan, MN.

Pucker up, Sonny.
Oh come on, just a peck?