The cedar waxwing has a number of distinctive elements that make it a popular subject for carvers.
The cedar waxwing gets its name from the wax-like “spangles” on the secondaries. Its mask and crest provide a couple more distinguishing characteristics.
A crested bird with a black mask, measuring between six and eight inches in length, the cedar waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) has subtle blended browns and a yellow tail band at the tips of the tail feathers. The red wax-like appendages of the secondaries from which the bird gets part of its name are sometimes missing. The waxwing eats a lot of fruit, so the other half of its name comes from its propensity to consume the berries from cedar trees.
This article is from the Winter 2011 issue. For more information on our issues, check out our issues page.