Monday, July 29, 2013

Cedar Waxwings and young offspring in my yard

Last week while I worked in my backyard I kept hearing a soft bird call with which I was unfamiliar. I looked all around and could not locate the bird. Then I heard the distinctive high pitched 'zee-zee' trill call of a Cedar Waxwing and I located it high in one of my large deciduous trees. The other call I was unfamiliar with continued and came from the same area as the adult Cedar Waxwing.

Finally I located the source of the unknown calling--it was clearly a fledgling Cedar Waxwing. It had a head that looked like an adult Cedar Waxwing except the mask was abbreviated. And it had a broad streaking on it's underparts that is not found on adult birds. It didn't have a crest, at least not one that was visible. And it's tail was even shorter than the usual short tail of adult birds.

I watched as one or both parent birds would fly in to the tree to bring food for their offspring. I don't think they nested in my yard as I believe I would have heard the adult's calls before. This fledgling appears quite young, maybe only a few days out of the nest when I first saw it, so they likely nested in my neighborhood or in a greenbelt only a few hundred yards away. They must have brought their offspring to my yard where it would be safe while they foraged for food.

I watched the young fledgling and the parents over the next few days. The parent's brought fruit to their offspring, some they found in my yard and some from other locations in the area. After the first 2 days the fledgling flew to my neighbor's yard but returned to mine for roosting. I had to go out of town for a few days and when I returned I went outside to listen for the calls of the parent or fledgling Cedar Waxwing but they were gone. I expect the fledgling improved it's flying skills and the family moved on. I certainly enjoyed their visit and I am glad I could provide habitat both for the safekeeping of the young bird and some of the fruit needed to feed it as well as the parents.