Cedar Waxwing eating berries

Recently the American Birding Association announced their Bird of the Year for 2020. The Cedar Waxwing holds the honor for the first year of this new decade.

The Cedar Waxwing is an excellent choice to be a "bird ambassador" for the ABA in 2020. These gregarious birds are known for their beauty, with striking plumage that includes a dramatic black mask and wax-like red tips to their secondary wing feathers.

These migratory songbirds can be found in much of North America -- summer-only across parts of Canada and only in the winter across roughly the southern half of the continent. Here in Florida, we enjoy flocks of them feasting on berries throughout the late winter and early spring.

Cedar Waxwing by Ron Knight (CC BY 2.0 DEED)

The Cedar Waxwing is the 10th Bird of the Year from the organization. Previously honored birds are as follows, with links to our Birdorable version when available.

If you want to learn more about Cedar Waxwings, have a look at these links:

Cute Cedar Waxwing Gifts

Bohemians on the move!

Bohemian Waxwings are on the move this winter! A poor berry crop in their northern range may be driving them outside of their usual winter haunts. Flocks have been seen around southern Lake Michigan and individuals have been reported in many northeastern states in the U.S. The birds have also been reported in the Netherlands, where they rarely make an appearance.

Bohemian Waxwings aren't the only northern birds showing up further south this winter. Evening Grosbeaks, crossbills, Red-breasted Nuthatches, redpolls and other finch species are irrupting all over. Have you had any special winter visiters at your feeders so far this season? The Bohemian Waxwing was added to Birdorable on November 13, 2012. If you love these beautiful birds, be sure to check out our fun and cute Bohemian Waxwing t-shirts and gifts!

Birdorable Cedar Waxwing in tree with berries

Cedar Waxwings boast a range of unique features and behaviors that set them apart in the bird world. From their distinctive appearance to their unusual dietary habits, here are some cool facts about the Cedar Waxwing, offering a glimpse into their lives and habits:

  • Waxy Red Tips: Cedar Waxwings are named for the distinctive waxy red tips on their secondary feathers, which increase in number and size as they age.
  • Fruit Lovers: These birds have a strong preference for fruit and can survive on a fruit-only diet for several months.
  • Cowbird Chicks Struggle: Brown-headed Cowbirds that hatch in Cedar Waxwing nests often don't survive due to the high-fruit diet of the Waxwings.
  • Intoxicated Behavior: Waxwings can become drunk from eating overripe, fermenting berries, sometimes leading to flocks colliding with windows.
  • Unique Vocalization: Cedar Waxwings don't sing traditional songs but communicate with quiet trilling or buzzing sounds.
  • Tail Band Coloration: While typically yellow, some Cedar Waxwings developed orange tail bands in the 1960s in the northeastern U.S., a change attributed to non-native honeysuckle berries in their diet.
  • Polite Eating Habits: These birds eat in shifts, with one group feeding first before giving way to the next, displaying more courteous behavior than most birds.
  • Group Names: A group of waxwings is called an "ear-full" or a "museum" of waxwings.
  • Birdorable Feature: The Cedar Waxwing has been a part of the Birdorable collection since September 2006. Check out our cute waxwing t-shirts and gifts!