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Mother Cedar Waxwing

Mother Cedar Waxwing
Photo Information
Copyright: Kathy Meader (writerscrawlz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 277 W: 2 N: 924] (2961)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-08-03
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS digital rebel XT, 70-200 f2.8
Exposure: f/6.3, 1/2000 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-08-10 13:16
Viewed: 3004
Points: 12
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This is the mother of the five babies I've started posting from my camping trip. She watched me carefully to make sure I wouldn't harm her small tykes, but she also kept a resectable distance from me for her own safety.

Once more, due to the hour and brightness outside, I did underexpose in my attempt to get her colors to stand out without the background taking center stage.

She was on one thin branch and as you can see, surrounded by many others. I tried to control the depth of field a little more, and then I added a despeckle to the background so she would be enhanced.

Her colors are a lovely hue, but this doesn't even begin to capture what I saw. Breath-taking is a good description...

I did a little bit of checking on this bird and found the following from http://nationalzoo.si.edu/ConservationAndScience/MigratoryBirds/Life_History/default.cfm?Commonname=Cedar%20Waxwing

Length: 7 inches
Wingspan: 12 inches
Weight: 32 grams
Nest Information
Number of broods: 1, occasionally 2 (Don't forget, mine had 5!)
Days spent incubating: 12(10-16)
Days until young fledge: 16(14-18)

What they eat:

I found an excellent article that was very informative and thought I'd share a bit. It was written by Robert Rice and titled the Movable Feaster

Like a centurion standing guard, the Cedar Waxwing strikes a commanding pose with its natty garb and erect profile. It's very name, Bombycilla , speaks of well-kempt fashion. "Bombux" or "bombukos" comes from the Greek root for "silk". The "cilla" comes from Modern Latin, and (mistakenly by Viellot, who borrowed it from the wagtail, Motocilla ) was used to mean "tail". So the Cedar Waxwing is the "silky tail of the cedar", often posing in military style atop its namesake tree.
This staid and proper image contrasts sharply with this beauty's propensity toward over-eating and constant chatter. Referred to over the decades as "glutton," "gourmand," or, in a more scientifically inclined descriptor, "intensive forager," Cedar Waxwings have been reported to devour an entire fruit crop of red cedars (Juniperus virginiana) over a two-day period. Such feats have earned it an alternative name, the "cedar bird," and led to the proposition that it is an important seed disperser of red cedar, a common woody species in eastern North America. It is also known as the cherry-bird, the Canada robin, and the southern waxwing.

But if fruits are its mainstay, insects present this sleek epicurean a veritable buffet during summer. Elm leaf beetles, weevils, carpenter ants, sawfly larvae, cicadas, scale insects, caterpillers form a part of the Cedar Waxwing's diet, as well food for young nestlings. They are excellent flycatchers, too. A particularly favorite fare is the cankerworm, the quantity of which could be eaten by a flock of 30 birds in a single month has been estimated at 90,000 worms—a modest estimate, given the Cedar Waxwing's voracious appetite.

As I post more Cedar Waxwings, I will include more of the article. Hopefully you'll enjoy reading it as much as I did.

Oh, and a side note:

I entered 6 photos in the local fair and took 3 first place ribbons along with one Grand Champion and two champion reserves

The other three were second placements.

jpinkham, CeltickRanger, Art_R, eqshannon, jusninasirun, Seabird has marked this note useful
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To eqshannon: bless youwriterscrawlz 1 08-10 19:58
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Critiques [Translate]

Awesome note to get us started, Kathy. Although the bird's head is a bit sparse on detail, you still got a good perspective and captured the "attitude" (to be anthropomorphic about it). That expression and posture does seem fiercely protective, indeed.


hello Kathy

excellent shot of this wonderful bird, fine POV and framing,
excellent luminosity with excellent sharpness and details
and i love his pose : guardian of his chicks,



  • Great 
  • Art_R Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 244 W: 20 N: 839] (3892)
  • [2008-08-10 19:23]

Hi Kathy , great photo of this mother waxwing , really nice color , I really like it up against that rich blue sky , nice job with the exposure, and thanks for sharing it

It appears that your trips are becoming more rewarding and it also occurs to me that our chance meeting has led you onto a totally different path than you thought the second you walked out that store door...How coincidence..and Kathy..you remember back then I was not even walking yet but in a scooter! I am so proud of how well you do..my best congrats on your found love of nature , which you knew before but is reborn!

Hello Kathy. The bird is very well perched on that leafless branch. Sharp detail exposure of the plumage. Well metered and framed shot. Tfs. Jusni

Hi, Kathy,

what a lovely photo with excellent composition!! the tree branches and the bird are in one good harmony! thanks for sharing.

have a nice day!

Man Yee

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