treat to find in your binocular viewfield, the Cedar Waxwing is
a silky, shiny collection of brown, gray, and lemon-yellow, accented
with a subdued crest, rakish black mask, and brilliant-red wax droplets
on the wing feathers. In fall these birds gather by the hundreds
to eat berries, filling the air with their high, thin, whistles.
In summer youre as likely to find them flitting about over
rivers in pursuit of flying insects, where they show off dazzling
aeronautics for a forest bird.
The Cedar Waxwing is a medium-sized, sleek bird with a large head,
short neck, and short, wide bill. Waxwings have a crest that often
lies flat and droops over the back of the head. The wings are
broad and pointed, like a starlings. The tail is fairly
short and square-tipped.
Cedar Waxwings are pale brown on the head and chest fading to
soft gray on the wings. The belly is pale yellow, and the tail
is gray with a bright yellow tip. The face has a narrow black
mask neatly outlined in white. The red waxy tips to the wing feathers
are not always easy to see.
Cedar Waxwings are social birds that youre likely to see
in flocks year-round. They sit in fruiting trees swallowing berries
whole, or pluck them in mid-air with a brief fluttering hover.
They also course over water for insects, flying like tubby, slightly
Look for Cedar Waxwings in woodlands of all kinds, and at farms,
orchards, and suburban gardens where there are fruiting trees
Cedar Waxwings love fruit. To attract waxwings to your yard, plant
native trees and shrubs that bear small fruits, such as dogwood,
serviceberry, cedar, juniper, hawthorn, and winterberry.
Cedar Waxwings are often heard before theyre seen, so learn
their high-pitched call notes. Look for them low in berry bushes,
high in evergreens, or along rivers and over ponds. Be sure to check
big flocks of small birds: waxwings are similar to starlings in
size and shape, and often form big unruly flocks that grow, shrink,
divide, and rejoin like starling flocks.
Cedar Waxwings are a focal bird species for the Celebrate
Urban Birds! project. Conduct a 10-minute count and record whether
or not you see waxwings.
track the nomadic movements of Cedar Waxwings by reporting your
sightings to eBird
how to find and monitor bird nests for NestWatch