These beautiful silky masked birds can be found year round in our state. In the winter they're easy to find - traveling in large flocks gathering in orchards and other areas with fruit trees and shrubs.
The term waxwing comes from the waxy red secretions on the tips of the secondaries, probably to entice a mate. Cedar comes from their appetite for cedar berries in the winter.
Eating as many berries as they do, they can become intoxicated after eating too many fermented or overly ripe berries.
Cedar Waxwings are sometimes found with orange instead of yellow tail tips. This began in the 1960s and is a result of the birds eating the non-native species of honeysuckle. The red pigment is picked up from the berries, and if the waxwing eats enough of them while growing tail feathers the tip will be orange!
In the summer, these birds can be found zipping over ponds eating insects and dragonflies.
When courting, waxwings will pass fruit back and forth until at last the female eats the fruit.
Symbolically the waxwing reminds us to share, is there something you need to share with another, something you need to pass along for the well-being of a friend? A strong sense of community is vital to helping each other survive.
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Since 2015 we have been exploring and sharing all the amazing things we’ve found in nature.
Emily is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist who is most often found out in the woods.