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Birds of St. Croix River Valley: Minnesota and Wisconsin



Bohemian Waxwing -- Cedar Waxwing

Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus)

Status: Casual migrant and winter resident.

Migration: This species is erratic in both distribution and abundance. The highest frequency of occurrence appears to be in the Western Upland. Although fall arrival periods are not regular, small flocks begin to arrive 20 November to 15 December. Spring departure is also irregular; most flocks leave by mid-March (latest-6 April 1970, Washington County).

Winter Distribution: An irregular winter resident throughout the Valley. Observations of Bohemian waxwings during midwinter usually consist of flocks of 15 to 30 birds. Most records have been obtained during the CBC period during the last 2 weeks of December.

Habitat: Most of my observations have involved birds foraging at the edge of deciduous forests or flocks in residential areas. The existence of vegetation that retains its fruit into the winter is important in maintaining this waxwing. Among these plants mountain ash and flowering crab apple, established as ornamentals in residential areas, are most important.

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)

Status: Regular migrant, nesting species, and winter resident.

Migration: Common to abundant spring and fall migrant throughout the Valley. Determination of arrival dates is compounded by the irregular nature of waxwing movements. During years when winter populations are very low, the first noticeable influx of migrants occurs 1-20 May, reaching a peak 1-15 June. When summer populations are low, fall movements occur from mid-August through 30 November and peak abundance usually occurs during late September.

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common nesting species throughout the Valley. Jackson (1943) reported that cedar waxwings were common throughout most of northwestern Wisconsin during the 1919 nesting season. Breeding Bird Survey data suggest that the largest population occurs in the Central Plain and Northern Highland. Goddard (1972) reported a density of 9.7 pairs per 40 ha in the Kinnickinnic River Valley, Pierce County.

Winter: Common to abundant winter resident in the Western Upland and Central Plain, uncommon in the Northern Highland. Yearly winter populations are characterized by large fluctuations, probably related to the abundance and availability of a food source. This species, like the Bohemian waxwing, is closely associated with fruit-bearing trees during the winter.

Habitat: Primarily a species of open or semi-open deciduous forest. Important among these habitats are openings in Southern Deciduous Forest, Northern Hardwood Forest, and Deciduous Clear Cuts. Nesting cedar waxwings also use, to a lesser extent, coniferous communities and ornamental shrubbery in residential areas.

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