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Overlooked beauty – Cedar Waxwings

You might not know they’re there, sitting motionless in the top of a tree. But if you hear a chorus of high-pitched ‘bzeee’ sounds look up, and you may see a group of 10, even 20, Cedar Waxwings. Reward yourself with a good look through binoculars – these birds have spectacular colors and patterns. With their almost silky plumage and black face mask they are one of the most interesting birds to grace our yards.

Cedar Waxwings don’t usually come to feeders, but travel in foraging flocks searching for fruits and berries. They are year-round residents in our area but their presence in any particular place is tied to food availability. You can attract them to your yard by planting native trees and shrubs that bear fruits. As their name suggests, berries of the eastern red cedar tree (really a juniper) are a favorite food. Other native plants with edible berries include the hackberry tree and roughleaf dogwood. Waxwings also will feast on the bright red berries of bush honeysuckle. Read this post about how eating the berries of this highly invasive shrub can affect Waxwing tail color.

Image from Powdermill Nature Reserve.


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