Friday, April 8, 2011

Cedar Waxwing - Northern Illinois Resident

This beautiful Cedar Waxwing
showing off his"angry"
look with its with black mask,
Galena, IL; 3/28/11.
 Our beautifully marked Cedarr Waxwings (Right) are another year round resident of Northern Illinois. They Spend all year in the northern half of the country, but in winter will spread down to the southern half, and in the summer months will be found throughout most of Canada as well.  Of the two types of waxwings found in the U.S., the Cedar is the most common. Its cousin, the Bohemian Waxwing (sorry no pics) live farther north in Alaska and Canada in the Summer and will venture into the U.S.'s northern states in winter. I have never seen a Bohemian ... yet.

A Ceadar Waxwing in Rock Cut State Park,
Rockford, IL; 8/2/09.
Cedar Waxwings travel in small flocks of a half dozen or so to larger flocks of several dozens. But when nesting they will split off into their mated pairs.  These Waxwings are very easy to spot, with bright spots of color offsetting their general light brown bodies and grayish wings. They have bright yellow tips of their tails (Bottom pic) as well as pale yellow bellies. Also a bright red stripe on their secondary wing feathers with white inner edges of their tertials. However, their most identifiable feature is their heads sporting a fine feathered out crest and spooky black mask outlined in white. This mask which slants back to a sharp point, makes them look like have a perpetual scowl as if they're angry about some misjustice that just took place. My GF, Val, might say they are an "angry bird" her current favorite screen game that she plays on her phone.  Though these Waxwings look nothing like Val's "angry birds."

If you want to find a Waxwing, look for a bush with berries, Waxwings' favorite food (Below).

A Cedar Waxwing eating his favorite meal - berries, Galena, IL; 3/28/11.

The glowing bright yellow tail of a Cedar Waxwing, Galena, IL; 3/28/11.

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