Monday, July 16, 2018

waxy wings

Cedar waxwings are one of the last species to nest in the calendar year. Why? They are frugivores...they primarily eat fruit. And fruits begin to appear in early summer. They will also eat some seeds and insects because they do need protein.

Cedar waxwing nesting begins in late May and runs into August. And as the name suggests, they eat berries from eastern red cedar trees which are actually small blue cones.

And the wax wings? Adults develop waxy red secretions at the tips of their secondary feathers. For lack of a better term, I call them "dollops." The older the bird, the bigger the red dollops and females tend to choose a mate with dollops the same size as her own, so size matters. She's not a cougar, she wants a partner as mature as she is. Perhaps they have similar life experiences.

Although you primarily see waxwings in flocks, during nesting season individual mated pairs claim and defend small territories.

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