10.25.20: Waxwing and berries

A Cedar Waxwing perches among berries in Prairie Oaks Metro Park, West Jefferson, Ohio.

A Cedar Waxwing perches among berries in Prairie Oaks Metro Park, West Jefferson, Ohio.

A nice pose during a break from a fruity meal

Cedar Waxwings are very distinctive birds, with their shiny, silky feathers of brown, gray, yellow and black. They stand tall when perched, with their crest swept back stylishly above their black mask. Wing feathers have waxy red tips (that’s where waxwings get their name) and tail feathers are tipped with yellow.

It almost looks as if Cedar Waxwings are permanently dressed for a formal occasion.

I don’t have very many photos of waxwings in my files, but it’s not from lack of trying.

First, even though waxwings are somewhat common in this area during the spring, I don’t see that many during my photo-hikes in local parks.

Second, waxwings tend to be very active. They don't perch in one spot for very long. That makes it difficult to get photos.

I found this waxwing taking a break from eating berries in a tree in Prairie Oaks Metro Park west of Columbus, Ohio. It was one of several in the area feasting on the plentiful fruit on a mid-August morning.

The Cedar Waxwing is one of the few North American birds with a diet that includes mainly fruit. The birds feed primarily on fruits year-round. The “cedar” in the Cedar Waxwing’s name comes from the cedar berries they eat in winter, but the birds also eat a variety of other berries. During summer months the Cedar Waxwing supplement their fruit diet with a variety of protein-rich insects.

Tech specs

  • Date: Aug. 16, 2009, 8:47 a.m.
  • Location: 39°59'34.39" N 83°15'19.09" W (Show in Google Maps)
  • Camera: Canon EOS 40D
  • Lens: Canon EF 600mm f/4L, Canon 1.4x teleconverter (840mm)
  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • Shutter: 1/640th second
  • ISO: 400

It almost looks as if Cedar Waxwings are permanently dressed for a formal occasion.