Waxing Eloquent Over Waxwings

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Cedar Waxwing 1.jpg
Cedar Waxwings are among the most elegant of the birds that frequent our ranch. With their long crest, their sleek brown and gray plumage, yellow tail band, and red waxy wing tips, they dazzle me when they flock to my trees.  Waxwings get their name from the red waxy wing tips found at the end of the secondary flight feathers in adult birds.  The color comes from carotenoid pigments in their fruit diet.  Young waxwings have little or no red in their wing tips.

 Cedar Waxwings can show up at any time of the year, but they are most reliable around Memorial Day.  Yesterday our fruit trees were laden with blossoms and Cedar Waxwings.  As I  planted flower boxes, I watched the waxings fly from tree to tree and gorge themselves on buds,
Cedar Waxwing 3.jpg
 blossoms, and insects.  Later in the spring and summer, they will return to eat the berries from our various fruiting trees and shrubs. In the fall they will re-appear to eat whatever fruit there may be left over on the trees. Sometimes when they feast on this over-ripe fruit of the fall, they behave as though they are "inebriated," and I worry about their navigating skills when they take wing. 

The Bohemian Waxwing is the larger, grayer cousin of the Cedar Waxwing.  Bohemians live further north and only visit our area in the fall and winter.  We had one show up at the ranch  for a rare visit one fall several years ago.

In landscaping the ranch, the Cedar Waxwing was one of our target birds.  We planted
serviceberry, dogwood, hawthorne, chokecherry, sand cherry, strawberries, currants, viburnum, and other native fruit trees and shrubs in the hopes of attracting waxing flocks.  I am happy to report that we have succeeded in this endeavor beyond our wildest imagination.

Cedar Waxwing-2.jpg

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Wow, they are pretty! :)

Thanks for sharing your beautiful part of yourself and your passion. I'll be anxiously awaiting your entrees as life unfolds on Yampavian Ranch

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This page contains a single entry by Nancy published on May 26, 2009 10:26 AM.

Oriole Buffet was the previous entry in this blog.

Bird Beauties of the Ranch is the next entry in this blog.

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