The Weekly with Daly: Cedar Waxwings

The Weekly with Daly: Cedar Waxwings

The Weekly with Daly is a regular column about the musings of the nursery written by our in-house wildlife observer and passionate conservationist, Julia Daly.

August 17, 2021

The delicate, high-pitched “Sseee” calls of cedar waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) have been filling the air over the past couple of weeks, right on schedule. In late summer, flocks of recently fledged juveniles and adults can be seen gathering in trees like black hawthorn (Crataegus douglasii), arbutus (Arbutus menziesii), and Pacific crabapple (Malus fusca) to feast on their favourite food, the ripening fruits. If you do not consider yourself a ‘birder,’ one glimpse of these beautiful sleek birds might just pique your interest in this pastime.

Cedar waxwings nest later than most other bird species in our area, so their young can take advantage of all the berries and other small fruits available in mid-summer to early fall. You can find them in habitats like open forests, forest edges, and residential neighbourhoods, from mid-May through October when most return to over-wintering territories in southern North America, Central America, and the Caribbean Islands.

You can support cedar waxwings and a lot of other birds and wildlife by providing and protecting native fruiting trees and shrubs like black hawthorn, cascara (Rhamnus purshiana), Pacific dogwood (Cornus nuttallii), bitter cherry (Prunus emarginata), Saskatoon (Amelanchier alnifolia), red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa), snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus), red-osier dogwood (Cornus sericea), and western trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera ciliosa).

I wasn’t able to photograph a cedar waxwing this week as I don’t have a high-powered camera lens, so I tried my hand at sketching one for you instead. Keep your eyes on those fruit trees, and enjoy the show!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this Weekly with Daly.

Signing off,




Feature photo courtesy of Brian Starzomski

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