11.06.16: Waxwing on green

A Cedar Waxwing perches in a cedar tree, Inniswood Metro Gardens, Westerville, Ohio. 


Technical information

May 23, 2014,
10:52 a.m.

40°6'9” N, 82°53'56" W
(Show in Google Maps)

Canon EOS 7D

Canon EF 600mm f/4L, Canon 1.4x teleconverter (840mm) 


1/1000th second


Cedar Waxwings are very distinctive birds, with their shiny, silky feathers of brown, gray, yellow and black. They stand tall when perched, with their crest swept back stylishly above their black mask. Wing feathers have waxy red tips (that’s where waxwings get their name) and tail feathers are tipped with yellow.

It almost looks as if the birds are permanently dressed for a formal occasion.

I don’t have very many photos of waxwings in my files, but it’s not from lack of trying.

First, even though waxwings are somewhat common in this area during the spring, I don’t see that many during my photo-hikes in local parks.

Second, waxwings tend to be very active. They don't perch in one spot for very long. That makes it difficult to get photos.

I found this waxwing perched in a cedar tree in Inniswood Metro Gardens, a local park I visit to photograph flowers. I decided to lug the heavy 600 millimeter lens I use for bird photography on this visit, which was a lucky decision because I found a group of waxwings in a cluster of cedars, flying from tree to tree. I was able to grab a few photos.

The Cedar Waxwing is one of the few North American birds with a diet that includes mainly fruit. Cedar Waxwings feed primarily on fruits year-round. The birds’ name comes from the cedar berries they eat in winter, but the birds also eat a variety of other berries. During summer months the Cedar Waxwing supplement their fruit diet with a variety of protein-rich insects.

Each week I will post a photo from my collection with an explanation of how I got the shot. Previous photos of the week are in the archives.