Friday, May 31, 2013

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing - Bombycilla cedorum

The Cedar Waxwings arrived back on May 28, 2013. The larger Bohemian Waxwings were last seen two months ago on March 25. The Cedars hang out over the summer and the Bohemians enjoy the area in the winter.

Cedar Waxwings nest later than most spring migrants, in part to coincide with the ripening of the summer berries, which are an important part of their diet. Even though they nest late, these birds often have two broods. They also eat a lot of insects and take them from perches, much like flycatchers. 
These birds are named for their fondness for the berries of the Eastern Red Cedar.
The red color at the tips of the wings is due to a bright red carotenoid (astaxanthin), derived from the diet, and concentrated in the flat expanded extensions of the rachis that project beyond the feather vanes. The red color has a "waxy" appearance, which led to the name. 

The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Alberta. Federation of Alberta Naturalists. 2007.

Baicich PJ, Harrison CJO. Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds. Princeton UP. 2005.

Beadle D, Rising J. Sparrows of the United States and Canada. Princeton UP. 2003.

Fisher C, Acorn J. Birds of Alberta. Lone Pine Publishing. Edmonton. 1998.

Sibley David A. The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior. Alfred A Knopf, Inc. New York. 2001.

Tudge Colin. The Bird. Crown Publishers. New York. 2008.

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