Cedar Waxwing
Bombycilla cedorum
The Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedorum) breeds across the northern United States and much of Canada. The species winters across most of the United States and some travel all the way to Central America in winter. The first 2 images show a small flock of Cedar Waxwings in desert scrub in Tucson, Pima Co., Arizona, in April, 2003. These were wintering or migrant birds on their way north. Waxwings are famous for their berry eating, and a flock may descend upon a fruiting tree and clean eat the fruit in a short period of time. Sometimes, it has been reported, the birds get "drunk" on berries that are not quite ripe. Seen up close, the Cedar Waxwing is an incredibly beautiful bird. Its plumage is so smooth that it almost appears to be made of porcelain.
The next 3 shots were taken in March, 2005, in Austin, Travis Co., Texas.
The next 4 images were taken in Austin, Travis Co., Texas, in March, 2010, with a Canon EOS 1D Mark IV and an EF 800mm F/4 L IS lens. In the shot shown here, the red "wax" tips on the secondaries are visible from which the species gets its name. These red tips are not really wax, but are carotenoid pigments which form as extensions of the feather. These types of feather extensions are unique to waxwing family. Many birds may not show these tips at all; they are most often seen on adult males.
The next 3 shots of Cedar Waxwing show nesting birds at Buzzard Swamp in the Allegheny National Forest, Forest Co., Pennsylvania, in June, 2010. This shots were taken with a Canon EOS 1D Mark IV and an EF 800mm F/5.6 L IS lens.