A very nomadic bird,
moving irregularly, being present in very large numbers on one occasion and
being completely absent on another. Cedar Waxwings are very sociable birds, rarely
found alone. They are known for their "fruit passing" behavior, where a
line of Waxwings on a branch will sometimes pass a piece of fruit back and forth between
birds. The namesake "waxwing", the red waxy tips on the secondary wing feathers,
are often a good way to age a Cedar Waxwing, as young birds often show now red
at all, while the older the bird, the more red is often present. Cedar Waxwings and Bohemian Waxwings
sometimes flock together in the state in the winter, although Cedar Waxwings
are typically much more common, especially in the eastern part of the state.
Habitat: Deciduous woodlands in summer,
fruit-bearing trees and shrubs in the winter. They can also often be found
in urban settings, especially when fruiting bushes and trees are present.
Diet: Mostly berries and insects. Majority of annual diet is berries and small
fruits, especially juniper, dogwood, and wild cherries. Will also eat
flower blossoms and catkins. Much of the summer diet includes insects.
Behavior: Extremely social birds, rarely found
alone. Cedar Waxwings are often quite tame, allowing close approach by
human beings as they forage.
Nesting: Irregular and late
Migration: Irregular migrant,
difficult to predict. Some may winter in the Southern U.S. down through
Central America, and some may overwinter even in the harsh South Dakota winters.
Feeders: Will attend feeders for various fruits
Conservation Status: Numbers appear to be stable.
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Cedar Waxwing"
eNature.com: Cedar Waxwing
Photo Information: June 28th, 2011 - Ecola State Park
in Oregon - Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Cedar Waxwing photos.