The Bohemian Waxwing
Named for their exotic appearance, but not so known in Bohemia, where loucheness is blamed on the gypsies instead, this poshed-up monicker replaced their previous colloquial name of the Devil Bird.
Medieval folk witnessing dramatic occasional appearances of flocks of two types of unusual birds into their manor felt it natural to regard their appearances as omens. Since one type had beaks which made the sign of the cross and the other a gaudy, debauched appearance it was obvious which was going to get the bad press..
Waxwings arrive in flocks as the light fades in late autumn. They clump in the upper branches of bare small trees, where in winter sun, their plumage can seem almost fluorescent. Eye stripes , gloss-painted wing bars and an exaggerated quiff complete the satanic(or new romantic, depending on your era) appeal.
Waxwings have taken to frequenting supermarket car parks during the Winter Shopping Festival. Crowding into weedy ornamental sallows they offer an ongoing commentary on events, like clockwork Jeff Koons installations, or brightly painted cousins of the singing crows in Dumbo.
Either way the devil -birds seem to observing something..