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Cedar Waxwing

Bombycilla cedrorum


Cedar waxwings are approximately 6–7 in (15–18 cm) long and weigh roughly 30 grams. They are smaller and more brown than their close relative, the Bohemian Waxwing (which breeds farther to the north and west). These birds' most prominent feature is a small cluster of bright red feathers on the wings, a feature they share with the Bohemian Waxwing (but not the Japanese Waxwing). The tail is typically yellow or orange depending on diet. Birds that have fed on berries of introduced Eurasian honeysuckles while growing tail feathers will have darker orange-tipped tail-feathers. Adults have a pale yellow belly. Immature birds are streaked on the throat and flanks, and often do not have the black mask of the adults. During courtship the male and female will sit together and pass small objects back and forth, such as flower petals or an insect. Mating pairs will sometimes rub their beaks together affectionately. The flight of waxwings is strong and direct, and the movement of the flock in flight resembles that of a flock of small pale European Starlings. (wiki) link posted in reference section)


Preferred habitat consists of trees at the edge of wooded areas, or "open" forests, especially those that provide access to berry sources as well as water. Waxwings are attracted to the sound of running water, and love to bathe in and drink from shallow creeks. In urban or suburban environments, waxwings often favor parkland with well-spaced trees; golf courses, cemeteries, or other landscaping with well-spaced trees; bushes that provide berries; and a nearby water source such as a fountain or birdbath.


I've been adding raspberries and black berry brambles to the hedge along the side of the property for the last few years. They are taking over and providing nesting habitat for many various bird species. I also put fresh fruit out in the gardens during the "non-berry" seasons in order to attract and keep various birds and insects happy and living on the property. I've noticed the wax wings out here for the last two years, however, photographing them is difficult as they are generally a super shy species, any movement catches their eye and they fly away to watch from a safe distance. This guy was in the weeping cherry tree in the front shade garden, he came to eat some of the apple halve that I stuck on one of the cut branches of the tree. I was able to get a few pictures, before he saw me through the bay window and flew away.

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1 Comment

BrandonBlount 5 years ago

I found their nest this afternoon, about 100 yards from the house, in the hedge row, in a scrub maple tree. It's pretty high up, and I will have to get the ladder out to see if there are any babies yet.

New York, USA

Lat: 43.32, Long: -78.22

Spotted on May 20, 2012
Submitted on May 20, 2012

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