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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Bohemian Waxwing -- Bombycilla garrulus

RANGE: Breeds from central Alaska, Yukon, southwestern Mackenzie, and northern Manitoba south to northern parts of Washington, Idaho, and Montana, central Saskatchewan, and central Manitoba. Winters south to Washington, Colorado, the Great Lakes, and Maine, east to Ontario, southern Quebec, Nova Scotia, and the northern tier of states. Winters irregularly to California, Arizona, northern New Mexico, and northern Texas.

STATUS: Common.

HABITAT: During summer, inhabits open coniferous forests, muskegs, and less frequently, mixed coniferous-deciduous woodlands. Wanders in large flocks in winter and may be abundant wherever food is available.

NEST: Constructs nest of twigs, grasses, and lichens, usually on a horizontal branch of an isolated spruce, tamarack, or pine in open muskeg, 4 to 50 feet above the ground.

FOOD: In summer, mostly eats insects, catching many of them by hawking from high perches. In fall and winter, eats mostly fruits, with fruits of mountain-ash and berries of cedar and juniper the most important winter foods. In spring, also eats sap from maple trees.

REFERENCES: Bent 1950, Eckert in Farrand 1983c, Forbush and May 1955, Terres 1980.

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