New Sabine Bird Sighting

These newcomers are not aptly named, I’m afraid.

Behold Bombycilla cedrorum, who really ought to be named Bacculaphagus damnatus.

They even have masks, the thieves, and absolutely no shame.


This is Cedar Waxwing.

About a dozen of the little beasts sat in the top of the plum trees and stared down at me with resentment as I entered the berry patch, rakish things that they are. 

They look like something out of Bladerunner, especially that fiend on the top.

The patch itself is going to be pretty good this year, I think.

The blue berries will be abundant… so long that the dratted thieves move along as they do every year.

The strawberries always cheer my heart and make me think of Castelli and Nemi.

And in keeping with the proper theme of the Sabine Farm, there may be grapes.

In the meantime there was a prodigious great downpour this afternoon, even with hail, which is the delight of Robins.

Here is Mrs. Robin with a nice juicy critter.

And here is Red-Bellied Woodpecker in situ for a change.

You’ve heard of Turkey in the Straw.  Around here it is Turkey in the Lilacs.

And off they go to cause mischief to drivers everywhere.

And let us not forget the Goldfinch Eating Team, no doubt gearing up for some competition.


Penjing is doing well.

Actually, Penjing had a bit of a road trip.  So that the thing wouldn’t die on me in my absence, I brought it with me in the car on my recent trip to Michigan.  The drive was very long indeed, and it was relegated to the trunk.

Here is Penjing in my hotel in Grand Rapids during the recent Acton Institute conference I attended.

I cannot tell you with what sense of trepidation I walked through the hotel lobby with this thing. 

It incited quite a strong reaction, I can tell you, and rapidly became the focus of much animated attention.

NB Single Men: Women were especially curious about it.  Hmmmm.

And in Kalamazoo where we stayed.

By the time we got back to the Sabine Farm, Penjing was flowering, its leaves were dark and waxy, thoroughly healthy. 

Actually, it looked better after the trip than before. 

I am not sure quite how to take that.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in My View, SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. I love Bombycilla cedrorum – I was home in Tennessee for the first time in years to see them strip my parents Mahonia shrubs clean of berries – lovely birds!

  2. Thom says:

    Not to devalue the rest of it, but these posts are always my favorites.

  3. LCB says:

    These posts always make me more curious about the Sabine Farm.

    Maybe Penjing just needed some ‘alone’ time? Why was Penjing not strapped in a seat with a seatbelt? Do we need to send you a carseat for Penjing? Surely you could convert it into a potted carseat with little trouble?


  4. Diane says:

    Fr. Z – did you say you were having turkey for dinner? :P

  5. Father: A prior poster made a (not sure what to charitably call it here) “remark” about your “legions of groupies”. I admit I roared laughing since I personally know some of the men who read this blog and I thought to myself if that was the best you can do with groupies you need to step up your game.

    Greenery and birds are always a nice touch. :-)

    I admit it’s been a LONG week and I’m in a goofy mood so I hope you take this in the funny spirit intended since I seem to be inadvertently angering a lot of folks this week. *sigh*

    Peace and prayers that the blog transition will not be too maddening!

  6. Padre Steve says:

    Where are you located? You have such a wonderful variety of birds on you property! Really beautiful pictures!

  7. Malta says:

    *Behold Bombycilla cedrorum, who really ought to be named Bacculaphagus damnatus.*

    LOL! The description and image are funny! We also have rapacious ravenous ravens and robins where we live too. Really, the birds, foul (not fowl) animals, wreak havoc around here. My fruit trees are destroyed within weeks of ripening (seriously.) It’s very frustrating. On the one hand, I want to kill them, on the other I love their beauty and can’t live without them. Isn’t that like life? That which we love we hate, and what we hate we love? Fair is foul, and foul is fair, in the words of Shakespeare. We love what we can’t have, and disdain it once we have it. Ingmar Bergman, the film director, once said that “virtue untested is no virtue at all.” At least those robber-robins have no virtue and needn’t be tested…..

  8. Reverendissimus amicus meus,
    You are a delight.
    Gratias tibi.

  9. Matt Q says:

    The Bombycilla cedrorum look like they are from “The Incredibles.” I I like those birds.

    There are so many birds in your yard, Father, it looks like a Tippi Hedron moment. **!!**

  10. Michael says:

    Dear Fathr Z, although you are a priest, to whom we trust, be careful with so many married women because you will get confused and discredit yourself: the lady with the nice juicy critter is not Mrs Robin.

    And the “eating team” are not goldfinches, or if they originally were, something went wrong with your colours. They feed on seeds, and it is quite atypical for so many to gather on a stem. Could you explain what are they doing ?

  11. No liturgical bees with these birds?

    Great pics.


  12. Diane says:

    Some people have a roaming gnome to photograph wherever they travel; Fr. Z has a roaming penjing.

  13. CK says:

    Yes, we too here in PA had visits from the Cedars in our Autumnal Cherry tree – if conditions are right, it blooms again in the Autumn after its full bloom in the Spring.

    Another tree-like shrub, the Service Berry Bush, REALLY gets filled with those Robins (and sometimes Grossbeaks), but that’s definitely a good thing since, like Wild Cherry trees, those berries can get quite messy. Re: the Wild Cherries though, the stain of the berries can still get deposited on cars, furniture, etc. in another manner too!

    You live in a lovely territory it would appear, Father. If your little bonzai is a happy traveler, perhaps it’s just taken on the qualities of its provider within its given milieu!

  14. Fr. Renzo: There was a bumblebee the size of a small calf in the berry patch, but I was unable to get a good shot of it. Maybe today.

  15. mao now says:

    I love the cedar waxwings. we used to watch them in the courtyard of our Parish church, here in NOLA. they loved the berries of the savannah holly. After the Tridentine Mass they made an interesting sight over coffee and donuts.

  16. Malta says:

    mao now

    do you go to Old Saint Patrick’s? I tried to get there when my wife and I were in NOLA a few weeks ago. There’s an excellent piece about a recent EF Mass there attended by various Bishops:

    If I had my druthers, I would move to NOLA in a heart-beat. Cheers!

  17. Warren Anderson says:

    Where do you live? Eden? As a west coast dweller we well know that Vancouver Island is synonymous with Paradise. Your lovely pictures are a lovely reminder of the vast and varied beauty of God’s creation.

  18. Waxwings are hardly popular elsewhere either, unjustly so. The literal translation of their Dutch name is ‘plague bird’. That’ll help in making friends. I think they’re beautiful. You’re very lucky with so many birds around the house, Father.

  19. Maureen says:

    Maybe penjing would like a daily walk. You could strap penjing into a little red wagon…. :)

  20. Maureen: Were I a Chinese gentleman, I suppose I would take my birds in their cage for a walk, as I saw them do in Hong Kong, but I don’t suppose they take their little trees around. Crickets maybe, but not trees.

Comments are closed.