Saturday, March 29

Friday Saturday Blog Birding: the Bohemian Waxwing

Bohemian WaxiwingI'd never seen a bohemian waxwing before, but we'd been looking for them all winter: scanning flocks of waxwings, examining details, etc. Today, we were in search of a greater white-fronted goose, and had no luck whatsoever. On the drive, however, we spotted a flock of waxwings and decided to take a closer look. The entire flock was bohemians, which can be distinguished from cedar waxwings by rusty marks on the tail and forehead, a grayer underside (cedars have a lot more yellow on the stomach) and a distinctly different wing pattern.

Some key facts from Cornell:
  • The name "Bohemian" refers to the nomadic movements of winter flocks. It comes from the inhabitants of Bohemia, meaning those that live an unconventional lifestyle or like that of gypsies.

  • The Bohemian Waxwing does not hold breeding territories, probably because the fruits it eats are abundant, but available only for short periods. One consequence of this non-territorial lifestyle is that it has no true song. It does not need one to defend a territory.

  • Only three species of waxwings exist. The Bohemian and Japanese waxwings have white edges to the wing feathers, but the Cedar Waxwing does not. An unusual Cedar Waxwing was found with the ornate wing pattern, suggesting that the ancestor of all three species had a patterned wing.


jaycon11 said...

damn, good find. we couldn't locate a single on in the upper penninsula of michigan in feb of 2006.
migration in swing here in april. had a swallow-tailed kite at work yesterday, just arrived from the gulf, gracefully swooping over scrub and trees, and then pointing north and heading for the forests 40 miles up the road.

jaycon11 said...

2nd try at this:

good spot for bohemian. we had no luck finding this one in the u.p. of michigan in feb 2006. apparently not an easy one to get, even when they're around.

migration in swing here in april. had a swallow-tailed kite drop down from migration height, freshly arived from the gulf non-stop flight, gracefully work the scrub and trees behind work, then turn towardds the north and glide effortlesly to the north and the forest belt 40 miles to the north.