The Cedar Waxwing makes for some striking birdwatching, as the Cornell Lab of Ornithology notes:

… the Cedar Waxwing is a silky, shiny collection of brown, gray, and lemon-yellow, accented with a subdued crest, rakish black mask, and brilliant-red wax droplets on the wing feathers. In fall these birds gather by the hundreds to eat berries, filling the air with their high, thin, whistles. In summer you’re as likely to find them flitting about over rivers in pursuit of flying insects, where they show off dazzling aeronautics for a forest bird.

One great place to observe this summer behavior is the handicapped-accessible fishing pier at Kenosha, Wisconsin’s Kemper Center.


View Mark Czerniec’s Racine & beyond in a larger map

The pier offers a fine view of Lake Michigan from a number of benches facing the water — but the real birdwatching action is in the opposite direction, in the tiny cove it surrounds. That’s where dozens of Cedar Waxwings perch and dart and swoop in a nonstop, acrobatic circus of insect hunting.

Admittedly this video (best viewed in HD) is fairly dizzying and distant. It was shot on our Flip Ultra HD, the only video camera I’ve ever thought to bring along on a bike ride. Still, it should give you some indication that there are a lot of Cedar Waxwings feeding at this spot. We see them there every time.

Perhaps the best birdwatching hour would be just before sunset on a clear evening, when the sun’s orange rays give the bugs a better silhouette, allowing a nice clear view of each amazing catch. In the evenings, swallows and other species also join the game.

Pin It on Pinterest