The ghost of Alfred Hitchcock must’ve been passing through the morning of Dec. 6. The noise of this many birds swirling from tree to tree is hard to describe, and while it wasn’t deafening, it was somewhat unnerving. The birdstorm came and went in just a few minutes.

Thousands of birds in branches.
RISING — Almost as one, this raucous flock of thousands of birds lit in a row of trees, then lifted away.
Sky filled with birds.
SWEEPING THROUGH — Thousands of birds swirled around the house before heading west.

The waxwing tree

The phone rang. A colleague upstairs called to see if I’d seen the flocks of cedar waxwings sweeping and swirling from tree to tree around the office grounds and adjacent campus. The birds moved almost as one; stripping the hollies of their berries and continually finding new places to roost. Waxwings are beautiful birds with their masks and crests. Look closely and you can see accents of bright yellow and pink in tips of their wings and tails.

TREEFULL - Birds outnumber blooms on the branches of this tulip tree.
TREEFULL – ┬áMasked birds outnumber blooms on the branches of this tulip tree.
DOWN -- Injured waxwing seeks rest in the grass.
DOWN — Injured waxwing rests in the grass. He fell in a sort of spiraling flat spin like an autumn leaf. Perhaps he was dazed after a collision? Sadly, an hour later, his head tipped forward. His beak to the ground, he expired.