Waxwings, Wonder, and E.B. White

It all began with Charlotte’s Web.

Oh, I’m sure there were other books I enjoyed before then, but when Fern cried out, “If I had been very small at birth, would you have killed me?” I had found my first heroine.  I’m pretty sure I checked (and re-checked) this book out of the school library so many times that mine was the only name listed on the little white card in the back pocket!  Can you imagine my joy when the scholastic book fair came to town and I got my very own copy?  I read this book curled up on the couch in my pajamas; I read this book in the backseat of our car on road trips; I read this book out loud to my grandmother, who patiently listened to every word. In fact, I read this book so many times that I’m pretty sure I am listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having read it more than any other child on the face of the earth.  And if I’m not listed, I should be!

But what does any of this fascinating childhood trivia have to do with a bird blog? Well, E.B. White, the same man who penned the story that sparked my love for reading (and planted the seeds that would later blossom into a passion for words) is also quoted as saying, “Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.”

I had this quote in mind as I wandered out into the backyard over the weekend – camera in hand, of course.  And as always, there was wonder to be seen…which leads to wonder to be shared.

Like these Cedar Waxwings, who sat and sunned themselves for a bit before flying off to join the rest of their gang.


And this Red-shouldered Hawk, who perched on a limb as he looked about for his next meal.

hawk1hawk2It was lovely to see the waxwings and the hawk since they are not everyday visitors; but there was no less wonder in seeing the regulars who showed up.  Like this Red-bellied Woodpecker who gripped the branch as a gust of wind ruffled his feathers.


And this Brown-headed Nuthatch, who popped in to say hello.


And this Brown Thrasher, who grabbed a mouthful of food and then darted off.


It seems fitting to close this post by letting you know that I walked into a used bookstore last week, and there, sitting on a shelf was a hardback copy of Charlotte’s Web, complete with the worn paper cover.  I snatched it up and plan on curling up in my pajamas later to read it again.




11 thoughts on “Waxwings, Wonder, and E.B. White

  1. I truly loved this post, Kathy. What a charming and beautiful story of your childhood, and what a joy to learn of White’s quote about wonder – that is a little statement I will always remember now! I can just imagine you this evening curled up with your “newest” copy of Charlotte’s Web 😉

  2. So funny, Charlotte’s Web was MY favorite all through childhood and I may challenge you for that world record! 🙂
    I’m always fascinated by cedar waxwings and rarely get to see them and have yet to photograph one. Your pics were lovely! And that red-shouldered hawk, I just sat here staring at the amazing pattern on his feathers! Your photos always bring out little details that I haven’t noticed about a bird before! There truly is a lot of wonder about if we just take a moment to notice.

  3. Well…since you are a fellow fan, we shall henceforth greet one another with “Salutations!”
    I don’t get waxwings often, but when I do I get so excited. They always make me think of Robin Hood and his merrymen. 🙂

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