Bohemian Waxwings

About a month ago the Bohemian Waxwings passed through. An entire clan of them (they seldom travel alone). Mature Bohemian Waxwings are dressed fit to kill! Cedar Waxwings have light yellow to white under tail coverts, with somewhat plain wing feathers, while their Bohemian cousins have Rufus-colored under tails and wing bars fit for a general. Their red waxy wingtips, yellow-and-white wing bars, and brilliant yellow tail feathers give them a decidedly elegant appearance, which belies their less elegant table – that is, tree – manners. During parts of a couple days they feasted in a frenzy on a conveniently close Crab apple tree. The interesting thing about Waxwings is that they have a revved-up digestive system that allows them to make good use of an available food supply in a short amount of time.  An article from the San Antonio chapter of the Audubon Society points out that the Waxwing’s esophagus expands to hold the berries or fruit that is swallowed whole, while it waits in line for its trip through the digestive tract–which trip can be taken in a mere 20 minutes. The undigested seeds survive the trip intact and are eliminated (all over the place, I might add). The Waxwings’ acrobatics and antics during a “feeding frenzy” is also highly entertaining. If they make too big of a reach for the next piece of fruit, quite a bit of fluttering can ensue as they regain their equilibrium!

ohemian Waxwing Acrobatics 20140317-_0004257 20140317-_0004261

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