Waxwing Wonder

Science, schmience — whoever designed cedar waxwings is an artist

I know, I know … science tells us that all life on this planet, post primordial ooze, is purely the result of random genetic mutation and ongoing natural selection. But though I know, I’m still somehow left wanting to know, perhaps more than ever, just who decided it was evolutionarily important to dip the tips of a bird’s feathers in “wax”?

For to categorize a cedar waxwing as nothing more than an “accident” of nature would seem to deny the absolute perfection and beauty of design that it — at least to me — so clearly reflects. Tips of wings dipped in red, tails in yellow — but no ordinary red and yellow, these waxy colors emanate an almost glow-in-dark iridescence that might cause a tropical fish to blush. For my money, nothing speaks to the loving genius of Mother Nature quite like the finishing touches with which she adorned cedar waxwings. Where scientists see only genetic “mistakes,” I see part of her master plan happily at work.

The bandito mask as well is a subtly brilliant feature of design that does nothing to dissuade me from belief in a creative hand lurking behind the curtain. Just add a nest full of chicks, offering fascinating behaviors galore, and you can safely bet where I’ll be spending all my free time, watching, learning … and marveling without end.

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