Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Cedar waxwings

Literally hundreds of cedar waxwings greeted me this morning from some of the tall oak trees near the Discovery Center parking area. They were facing the sun, and apparently waiting their turn to descend on the hollies near the Geology Museum for a berry feast. I saw almost a continuous flow of birds cycling from hollies to oaks, and occasionally stopping on the adjoining crape myrtle on the way. I wished I had my camera with me (this is a stock image from

Cedar waxwings are one of our most frugivorous birds, only eating some insects in the summer months. Otherwise, they rely on sugary, bulky fruits, and have expanded their range in recent years as habitat changes and landscape plantings have made fruiting trees more abundant. Juniper (red cedar) cones used to be a primary winter 'fruit,' but now hollies, serviceberry, and many other fruits are also eaten.

They're winter residents for us and primarily seen in large foraging flocks in late winter.

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