Fun Facts

  • This bird gets the name "waxwing" from the red waxy droplets on the tips of its wing feathers. The function of these is unknown, although possibly it distracts predators.
  • Another species, the larger Bohemian Waxwing, is found further north in North America and also ranges throughout northern Europe and Asia. A smaller third species, the Japanese Waxwing, is found in parts of East Asia.

Bird of the Month

December 2011

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)

Elegant and exotic in appearance, the Cedar Waxwing is a wintertime visitor to berry-laden trees and shrubs in the garden. Its high-pitched call—too shrill for some observers to hear—is often the only clue that a flock is on the move, high in the air. Alighting hurriedly on a berry bonanza, these birds have been known to get "drunk" from eating fermented berries!


Photo © Tom Clifton

Waxwings are non-breeding visitors only to the Monterey area, being present from October to May. They are attracted to native trees like alder, madrone, and maple, and native shrubs like manzanita, toyon, holly-leaf cherry, coffeeberry, blackberry, elderberry, snowberry, and huckleberry. Various non-native shrubs attract the birds also, notably holly and pyracantha (firethorn). So, the next time you notice berries nearby, keep your eyes peeled for this attractive avian visitor! 
We at the Wild Bird Haven wish you a Happy Holiday season!


Watercolor © Carole Rose. Available as a notecard or a print!