Cedar Waxwing

February 4, 2015

Cedar Waxwing is a member of the waxwing family of passerine birds. It is mostly a medium sized bird approximately 6-7 inches and weigh 30 grams of brown, gray and yellow and is named for its wax-like wing tips. It is native of North and Central America. Waxwings have a crest that often lies flat and droops over the back of the head. The wings are broad and pointed, like a starling’s. The tail is fairly short and square-tipped. The head of the cedar waxwings are pale brown and the chest fading to soft gray on the wings, its belly is pale yellow and the tail is gray with bright yellow tip. The red waxy tips to the wing feathers are not always easy to see.

The two common calls of these birds include very high-pitched whistles and buzzy trills about a half second long often represented as see or sree. Its call can also be described as “high, thin, whistles, they often call during flight. Cedar Waxwings are social birds that you’re likely to see in flocks year-round. They sit in fruiting trees swallowing berries whole, or pluck them in mid-air with a brief fluttering hover. They also course over water for insects, flying like tubby, slightly clumsy swallows.

Image Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waxwing

The cedar waxwings prefer to establish their habitat in trees at the edge of wooded areas and or “open” forests especially those that provide access to berry sources and water. They are frequently seen in fruiting trees. These birds are also attracted to the sound of running water and love to bathe in and drink from shallow creeks. This bird consumes berries and sugary fruit all year round including dogwood, serviceberry, juniper, cedar, hawthorn and winterberry

Mating season for this bird begins around the end of spring and runs through late summer. The male will do a hopping dance for the female and she’ll hop back if interested. The male and female will sit together and pass small objects back and forth during courtship. The female waxwing will build the nest and it would take her about five to six days to complete building the nest. Usually 5 to 6 eggs are laid and the female incubates them for 11 to 13 days. The eggs are oval shaped in various shades of light or bluish grey with irregular dark brown spots or grayish brown splotches. Both parents feed the young and normally there are only one or two broods per mating season.

Image Source: http://www.birdsgallery.net/cedar-waxwing/

Image Source: http://birdnote.org/bird/cedar-waxwing-bombycilla-cedrorum

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