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Cedar Waxwing

Bombycilla cedrorum

Photo: Dave Menke, USFWS
Cedar Waxwing. Photo: Dave Menke, USFWS

A small flock of buzzing songbirds in a fruit tree in summer is likely to contain cedar waxwings. The tips of the wings and tail of this bird look as if they've been dipped in red and yellow wax, hence the name. Furthermore, its 'punk-rock' haircut (actually called a crest), and black mask make this bird easily recognizable among the many bird species of the boreal forest. Cedar waxwings are fruit specialists, and can be found anywhere where there are fruit-bearing trees, including suburbs, agricultural areas, and wilderness. So important is fruit to the waxwing, that courtship involves the exchange of fruit between males and females, until one of the bird's finally decides to eat the fruit. The cedar waxwing is one of the last species to nest in Canada. Not surprisingly, nesting is delayed to correspond with peak abundance of its favorite fruit crops.

Map of Cedar Waxwing in Canada
Distribution of Cedar Waxwing in Canada

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