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Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Cedar Waxwing

Bombycilla cedrorum ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: BOMBYCILLIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Cedar Waxwing Photo

A treat to find in your binocular viewfield, the Cedar Waxwing is a silky, shiny collection of brown, gray, and lemon-yellow, accented with a subdued crest, rakish black mask, and brilliant-red wax droplets on the wing feathers. In fall these birds gather by the hundreds to eat berries, filling the air with their high, thin, whistles. In summer you’re as likely to find them flitting about over rivers in pursuit of flying insects, where they show off dazzling aeronautics for a forest bird.

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Calls

Cedar Waxwings have two common calls: a high-pitched, trilled bzeee and a sighing whistle, about a half-second long, often rising in pitch at the beginning. Cedar Waxwings call often, especially in flight.

Search the Macaulay Library online archive for more sounds and videos

Backyard Tips

Cedar Waxwings love fruit. To attract waxwings to your yard, plant native trees and shrubs that bear small fruits, such as dogwood, serviceberry, cedar, juniper, hawthorn, and winterberry.

Find This Bird

Cedar Waxwings are often heard before they’re seen, so learn their high-pitched call notes. Look for them low in berry bushes, high in evergreens, or along rivers and over ponds. Be sure to check big flocks of small birds: waxwings are similar to starlings in size and shape, and often form big unruly flocks that grow, shrink, divide, and rejoin like starling flocks.

Get Involved

Cedar Waxwings are a focal bird species for the Celebrate Urban Birds! project. Conduct a 10-minute count and record whether or not you see waxwings.

Help track the nomadic movements of Cedar Waxwings by reporting your sightings to eBird

Learn how to find and monitor bird nests for NestWatch

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All About Birds blog, Not Just Sparrows and Pigeons: Cities Harbor 20 Percent of World’s Bird Species, April 29, 2014.