It has been a while since I've had anything interesting to post about. This summer is proving to be hot, humid, stormy and not as "bird centric" as I would like but it has been busy. In a future post I'll talk about the Purple Martin banding that occupied the first 2 weeks of July. Hard work but a record year for us!
The great thing about our regular banding sessions is that we often catch birds that show us characteristics up close that you just wouldn't see from a distance. This Cedar Waxwing is an example.
Lots of the Cedar Waxwings we handle don't show their namesake waxy tips on the wing secondaries. This fellow however was in full display mode. I've personally been seeing and hearing more CEDWs lately than usual. There should be lots of young mixed in with any flocks that may be around. Look for waxwings with streaky fronts and raggedy crests.
A close up of the wing reveals the waxy tips to look like they were made from bright red crayons. They feel that way too.
An extreme close-up lets one see the point from which the tips are produced. An interesting tidbit about waxwings is that they extract the color chemicals for their feathers from their food and in some places waxwings have been found that have orange tipped tails instead of the expected yellow tipped tail feathers due to their diet.
If you'd like to have waxwings around your yard plant some berry bushes or trees and the waxwings will find them before you know it!