CEDAR WAXWING

Bombycilla cedrorum

With thin, lisping cries, flocks of Cedar Waxwings descend on berry-laden trees and hedges, to flutter among the branches as they feast. These birds are sociable at all seasons, and it is rare to see just one waxwing. Occasionally a line of waxwings perched on a branch will pass a berry back and forth, from bill to bill, until one of them swallows it. This species has a more southerly range than the Bohemian Waxwing, and is a familiar visitor to most parts of this continent south of the Arctic.

Conservation Status

Local numbers vary widely, but overall population apparently is holding up well or even increasing.

Habitat

Open woodlands, fruiting trees, orchards; in winter, widespread, including towns. Breeding habitat is influenced by availability of fruiting trees and shrubs, often most common in “edge” situations, as along forest edges, streamsides, overgrown fields, edges of swamps, suburban yards. In winter, may be in any wooded or semi-open area where berries are abundant.

Diet

Mostly berries and insects. Majority of annual diet is berries and small fruits; feeds on very wide variety of berries, with some important sources including juniper, dogwood, and wild cherries. Eats many insects in summer, including beetles, caterpillars, and ants.