About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Keep your eyes open for Bohemian Waxwings!

Bohemian Waxwings
I'm always fascinated by the Cedar Waxwings that frequent the area around the East Lansing Wild Birds Unlimited. Lately a few customers have reported seeing Bohemian Waxwings in the Lansing, MI area.

According to the Birds of Michigan field guide, the Bohemian Waxwings nest in northern forests in Alaska and western Canada, and visit Michigan only during winter in search of food. In most years, Bohemians are only seen in small groups, usually intermingled with overwintering flocks of the similar-looking Cedar Waxwings. However, their short tail and chestnut undertail coverts readily distinguish them from their Cedar Waxwing counterparts.

Bohemian Waxwing
Waxwings get their name from the spots on their secondary feathers. These "waxy" spots are actually colorful enlargements of the feather shafts, whose pigments are derived from the birds' berry-filled diet. Juvenile birds have smaller pigment spots that will grow in size until the birds reach their adult plumage.

The Bohemian Waxwing is an irruptive species. As their name suggest they lead a nomadic lifestyle and move around based on where they can locate food. So when you hear the high pitched trill of the Cedar Waxwings, listen for the rougher and lower pitched call of the Bohemian Waxwing.

Cedar Waxwing
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4 comments:

blobbybirdman said...

Where have people been reporting the bohemian waxwings. I've not heard any reports of them in the area and I'd love to see some this winter

Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

Two different couples have come in to say they thought they saw the birds at the Lake Lansing Road Kroger. Our store is right across the street and I haven't seen any myself but I thought I would write about it to clarify what the birds look like and to get more eyes scanning the trees. I haven't even seen the Cedar Waxwings in the area since Jan. 1st
Sarah

Anonymous said...

we have a flock of Bohemians in Sand Lake, Michigan- thirty miles north of Grand Rapids. They are eating berries or seeds off of an ornamental at our local school!

Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

That's fantastic! Take a picture and I'll post it for Photo Friday. And make sure you participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count at www.Birdcount.org