My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Cedar Waxwing, Bombycilla cedrorum

Cedar Waxwing, Bombycilla cedrorum are very social birds that often assemble into medium-sized flocks, especially in the winter. This happens to me regularly during the winter, I’ll be walking along, and suddenly, a flock of 30 to 40 cedar waxwings will burst out of a small oak tree next to me. This always amazes me, for one thing, how can that many birds hide in one small tree? How can I not see them before they take flight? I can’t answer those questions, it still happens to me.

I believe that the waxwings prefer small oaks and other trees that hold their leaves over the winter to help the birds hide, and to shelter them from cold winds.

For most of the year, Cedar Waxwings feed on berries, the list of which is way too long to go into here, suffice it to say that if you find one Cedar Waxwing feeding on a particular species of berry, you’ll probably find other waxwings feeding on the same ones. During their breeding season, and on into late summer, they also will eat insects, which are taken on the fly, most often, over a body of water. While I am kayaking, I’ll often see large flocks of Cedar Waxwings in the trees along the river or lake, and they will dart out to capture insects flying over the water, then the birds will return to the trees to await another insect flying past.

During courtship, males and females hop towards each other, alternating back and forth and sometimes touching their bills together. Males often pass a small item like a fruit, insect, or flower petal, to the female. After taking the fruit, the female usually hops away and then returns giving back the item to the male. They repeat this a few times until, typically, the female eats the gift. Sometimes, this takes place in trees as well, as you will see in one of the photos.

Speaking of which, here are a few photos.

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing in flight

Cedar Waxwing in flight

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Juvenile Cedar Waxwing

Juvenile Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

DSC_7205

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing in flight

Cedar Waxwing in flight

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing feeding its mate

Cedar Waxwing feeding its mate

Cedar Waxwing feeding its mate

Cedar Waxwing feeding its mate

Cedar Waxwings avoiding a collision

Cedar Waxwings avoiding a collision

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

This is number 19 in my photo life list, only 331 to go!

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

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12 responses

  1. Great pictures! Amazing picks!

    February 4, 2013 at 11:25 am

    • Thank you!

      February 4, 2013 at 12:33 pm

  2. I love waxwings and we see them very rarely so this post was a treat.

    February 4, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    • Thank you, I’ll have to find some more of them for you!

      February 5, 2013 at 1:58 am

  3. That last shot is my favorite!

    February 5, 2013 at 6:15 am

    • Thank you! I just had that one blown up as a print, it is one of my better efforts.

      February 5, 2013 at 9:18 am

  4. Just lovely! …not just the photos (which are truly beautiful) but the text is so joyful. Thank you. You make me smile.

    February 5, 2013 at 7:32 am

    • Thank you, I try.

      February 5, 2013 at 9:22 am

  5. I was delighted when I saw this post of yours, Jerry! Great shots, especially your last one, beautiful!

    February 6, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    • Thank you, Donna!

      February 7, 2013 at 2:18 am

  6. OK, I sound repetitious, but this is another favorite. They are a mystery – you can rarely count on them – they grace you with their presence for a few minutes, then they’re gone. Many years a go I was privileged to see Cedar waxwings pass a berry from bird to bird as a group sat in a row on a wire above a field. Entrancing. And those subtle colors! That last photo is perfection – beautiful! I really like the waxwing in flight, too. Wonderful.

    February 18, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    • Rather than reply to each individual comment, which I do appreciate, I am going to say thank you for most of them in this reply. THANK YOU!

      February 18, 2013 at 10:10 pm