About The Cedar Waxwing

The Cedar Waxwing, Bombycilla cedrorum, is a dark brown bird with a pale brown crest and black eye patches and chin. Its head is pale brown and gradually fades to pale yellow towards its belly. It has a black tail with a yellow tip and white undertail coverts. Its wings also predominantly black has a thin red bar found on its secondary wing feathers. Its beak is short and thin. The male and females are similar except that females are slightly smaller. Juveniles can be told apart from adults by their duller gray heads and bodies and the blurry streaks found on their bellies. Cedar waxwings are around 6” to 7” in length and have a wingspan of 11” to 12”.

The Cedar Waxwing Nesting Preferences

Cedar waxwing nests are made of moss, dried grass, twigs, weeds, and pine needles. Cedar waxwings also sometimes use materials gathered from nests of other bird species as part of their nests. Cedar waxwings are not very particular with the mount height of their nests so that nests can be found from anywhere between 6 feet to 50 feet above ground in shrubs and trees. During nesting season cedar waxwings become tame and very approachable.

Building a Birdhouse For The Cedar Waxwing

Cedar waxwings are known to use birdhouses for their nesting site when a more suitable natural setting cannot be found. Since they are not very particular about the mount height birdhouses just need to be mounted 6 feet above ground and the birds will most probably use them as long as the birdhouses are found near shrubs and trees or near other sorts of vegetation. The dimensions for a typical birdhouse are: 8” x 8” (floor) and 14” (distance from floor to ceiling). Entrance hole ½” in diameter. Use of a hinged roof is recommended for easier access inside the birdhouse.

The Cedar Waxwing Mating Habits

May marks the start of the cedar waxwing’s breeding season. The cedar waxwings form pairs at the start of the breeding season and remain monogamous for the rest of the nesting season. During courtship the male and female hop back and forth towards and away from each other. They also usually pass berries back and forth while hopping.

The Cedar Waxwing Feeding Preferences

Cedar waxwings are voracious eaters dining primarily on fleshy fruits with high sugar content and flower petals during the winter. Cedar waxwings are especially fond of berries and have even been observed to sit in a row on berry bushes passing berries between one another. In summer cedar waxwings extend their diet to include insects like beetles, weevils, sawfly larvae, flies, cicadas, caterpillars, and ants.

Interesting Cedar Waxwing Facts

Cedar waxwings are very sociable creatures but do not have a song. Instead they produce distinctive calls that sound like quiet trilling. One kind of call is a high-pitched trill that sounds a bit like buzzing. There are variations to the high-pitched call that serves different functions like as a courtship call or a begging call. Another common type of call heard from cedar waxwings is a high-pitched hissing whistle that flocks of waxwings make when they are either taking off or landing.