Cedar Waxwing, Bombycilla cedrorum
Cedar Waxwings are elegant and attractive winter residents in the San Francisco Bay Area, roaming the gardens, parks, and foothills in flocks, often in company with American Robins, in search of berries ripening on pyracantha, toyon, cotoneaster, and other bushes. We are always glad to hear their thin piping calls around our house, which often announce that they are taking a break from the berry hunt to drink or bathe in our back yard fountain.
Resting by the fountain, above, and bathing in it, below.
My only photograph of a Cedar Waxwing in flight, taking off under an oak tree canopy.
Above and below: the waxy red tips of the waxwing's tertial feathers give the bird
its common name, and combine with the yellow tips of its tail feathers and its black
mask to create its especially dashing appearance. Above, crown feathers erected;
below, same feathers smoothed out.
The Cedar Waxwing in first cycle lacks the adult red "waxy" tertial tips, and also the rich
rufous tinge to the brown feathers; the facial mask is dark gray rather than true black.
Below, a first-cycle bird with wings elevated.