Two years ago at the botanical gardens, I saw a tree full of these fantastic little birds, but never could ID them.
Well, the neighbor's holly tree, loaded down with berries, attracted a flock of 'em last week, and I finally figured out the right google string (songbird crest mask) and now I know, they're cedar waxwings. Pretty little things, apparently they descend on an area, pick it clean, then leave. Which is exactly what they did. The holly tree is awfully bare.
They had some help; they were preceded by an enormous and ravenous cadre of robins. I was initially thrilled to see them perching on my balcony one morning, and snapped a bunch of photos while they ate from the tree, but later that day I was muttering about "flying rats" when I saw the mess they had left behind. Maybe it's not such a bad thing that we're getting rain this weekend...
A little gem from Emily Dickinson for you:
The robin is the one
That interrupts the morn
With hurried, few, express reports
When March is scarcely on.
(Ms. Dickinson also supplied me with the title of this post)