Cedar waxwings breed over a wide variety of habitats
especially in woodlands and orchards. Both parents build a nest
of twigs, dry grasses and lichens well out on a limb. Nesting
may begin in June, but start dates vary depending on food
availability. Two broods may be raised each year. The female
broods the young, but since males sometimes develop a partial
brood patch, they may assist in incubation. Young hatch in about
two weeks, are attended by both parents, and fledge in 16-18
days (Baicich and Harrison1997).
Cedar Waxwings engage in an interesting ritual. Several birds
will perch on a branch along side of each other and pass a berry
back and forth up and down the line before one bird eats it. A
mated pair will often pass a berry back and forth as part of
The records at the Bird Banding Laboratory show that more
than 169,000 Cedar Waxwings were banded between 1914 and 2004.
Of these, 1,271 have been encountered. Banding studies show that
Cedar Waxwings can live more than 5 years in the wild. Captive
birds have lived more than 8 years.
If you should recover a banded Cedar Waxwing, please report
the band number to the Bird Banding Lab either by calling
1-800-327-BAND, or by completing the report form on their web
site. Your report will add valuable information to what is known
about this species.
Cedar Waxwing populations appear to be holding steady or
increasing. The waxwing preference for berries brings them into
contact with human habitations where they suffer from collisions
with cars, windows and from predation by cats. It is unfortunate
that this lovely and gentle bird is not better known among the
Alderfer, J., Ed. 2006. Complete Birds of North America.
National Geographic. Washington, DC.664 Pp.
Baicich, P. J. and C. J. O. Harrison. 1997. A Guide to the
Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds. 2nd Ed.
Academic Press, Boston. 347 Pp.
Beaman, M. and S. Madge. 1998. The Handbook of Bird
Identification for Europe and the Western Palearctic. Princeton
University Press. Princeton, NJ. 868 Pp.
Flint, V. E., R. L Boehme, Y. V. Kostin, A. A. Kuznetosov.
1989. A Field Guide to the Birds of the USSR. Princeton
University Press, Princeton, NJ. 353 Pp.
Gill, F. B. 2007. Ornithology, 3rd edition. W. H. Freeman and
Company, New York. 758 Pp.
Peterson, R. T. 2008. Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North
America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, New York,
NY. 527 Pp.
Pyle, P. 1997. Identification Guide to North American Birds.
Part I. Slate Creek Press, Bolinas, CA. 731 Pp.
Terres, J. K. 1995. The National Audubon Society Encyclopedia
of North American Birds. Wings Books, NY. 1,109 Pp.
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