Exploring Nature: Cedar Waxwings

Cedar waxwings, fly south from Canaa every winter and take roost in parts of Texas. FREE USE PHOTO

One bird you seldom seen alone is the cedar waxwing, a winter visitor in our area that is usually found in large flocks.

A pleasing combination of brown, gray and lemon yellow, accented with red “wax droplets” on the wing feathers – this is one beautiful bird. To me, its plumage resembles brown brushed suede.

I have a large pyracantha bush that produces a bumper crop of orange berries, one of the favorite foods of the cedar waxwing. It will also feed on insects, catching many in mid-air.

When I see waxwings, they are often lined up on fences or tree limbs and I am told they will sometimes pass a berry down line from bill to bill until one of them swallows it. I assume the hungriest bird eats first.

Waxwings breed in Canada and are only in our area during late fall and winter. The female lays pale gray to bluish-gray eggs, finely spotted with brown and black. She incubates these eggs for 12-13 days and then both parents feed the nestlings. 

One identifying mark of this bird is a black mask around its eyes, giving it a rakish, piratical look. Enjoy while it is here, it is one beautiful bird. 

San Marcos Daily Record

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