All Photos posted on this blog unless otherwise noted were taken by me with my Canon Rebel XTI using a 300 mm zoom lens

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

February's Bird of the Month The Cedar Waxwing












The Cedar Waxwing is one of the most frugivorous birds in North America. Many aspects of its life, from its nomadic habits to its late breeding season, may be traced to its dependence upon fruit.

Description:
Medium-sized songbird.
Gray-brown overall.
Crest on top of head.
Black mask edged in white.
Yellow tip to tail; may be orange.
Size: 14-17 cm (6-7 in)
Wingspan: 22-30 cm (9-12 in)
Weight: 32 g (1.13 ounces)
Sex Differences
Sexes nearly alike.
Sound
Calls are very high pitched "bzeee" notes.

Conservation Status
Populations increasing throughout range. Other Names
Cool Facts:
The name "waxwing" comes from the waxy red appendages found in variable numbers on the tips of the secondaries of some birds. The exact function of these tips is not known, but they may serve a signaling function in mate selection.
Cedar Waxwings with orange instead of yellow tail tips began appearing in the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada beginning in the 1960s. The orange color is the result of a red pigment picked up from the berries of an introduced species of honeysuckle. If a waxwing eats the berries while it is growing a tail feather, the tip of the feather will be orange.
The Cedar Waxwing is one of the few temperate dwelling birds that specializes in eating fruit. It can survive on fruit alone for several months. Unlike many birds that regurgitate seeds from fruit they eat, the Cedar Waxwing defecates fruit seeds.
The Cedar Waxwing is vulnerable to alcohol intoxication and death after eating fermented fruit.

2 comments:

dave and catie said...

That part about the possible orange tails is fascinating.

Are these the same birds you told me about that will socially eat, passing down berries to one another?

Steve and Nery said...

These are the ones.