Saturday, June 16, 2012

Cedar Waxwings

Cedar waxwings are medium-size berry-eating birds.  I have never seen just one.  They always travel in flocks and they love sugary berries from a variety of plants. They are quite noisy and my wife always recognizes their song before she sees them. They love the little blue berries found on cedar trees, which is where they got their name.  They have very striking markings including a noticeable crest, a black mask across their eyes and a yellow band on the tip of their tail. They are called waxwings because of a waxy looking red band on their wings which concentrates pigments from their diet of fruits. They are almost continually on the move as they search out new berry sources.  I just happened to see this flock as it passed through at the river recently.

Here is a closer photo of a waxwing that was traveling in a mixed flock of robins and cedar waxwings last fall.  They stripped most of the dogwood berries from the tree in our yard in a day.  The dogwood was loaded with berries.  You can see the mask and yellow band, but the crest is down and the red wing is not visible.

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