Cedar Waxwing Small Journal
The following description appears on the inside cover of your small journal.
Cedar Waxwings are sleek brown birds with long conspicuous crests, black marks, and yellow bands at the end of their tails. Red waxy tips on the secondary wing feathers give the waxwing its name but are not always present; they are thought to signal age or social status. The waxwing’s summer breeding range extends from British Columbia and Cape Breton Island south to Georgia, Arkansas, and California. Winters are spent from New England and Oregon to Mexico and Central America.
Cedar waxwings are gregarious year-round, feeding in flocks even during the breeding season. Their preferred habitats are woodlands, orchards and open areas with berry-bearing shrubs and trees. Their primary diet is sugary fruit, although waxwings also catch insects while on the wing. A high buzzy trill, “bzeeee,” is the most common call given by perched waxwings. Their courtship includes a ritual in which the male and female hop from side to side and pass a fruit, insect or flower petal back and forth until the female finally eats it. Nesting occurs in late summer.
Waxwings winter in large flocks and roam widely in search of food. A flock can strip a berry-laden tree of fruit in a short time. Their favorites are berries of cedar and rowan trees. These birds have the amusing habit of passing a bit of food from one bird to the next down a long row sitting on a branch until one birds eats it. In late winter, waxwings often eat fermented berries and become intoxicated.
The waxwings can teach us gentleness and courtesy.
artwork by John Sill
text by Steve Sierigk