If birds have no conception of manners, how does it happen that half a dozen Cedar Waxwings, sitting close together on a limb–which they often do–will pass a cherry along from one to another, down to the end of the line and back again, none of the birds making the slightest attempt to eat even part of the fruit? This little episode has been witnessed and reported by more than one thoroughly responsible observer of birds. What does it mean? If not politeness and generosity, then what?
Reading about Cedar Waxwings in Birds of America (T. Gilbert Pearson, ed., Garden City Books, Garden City, New York, 1936). Writing nothing much, I’m afraid. Thinking about what beautiful descriptions were in the old guides, such as Birds of America. Perhaps more on this later in the day.