Bombycilla garrulus!


Bombyx (Latin/Greek): silkworm; cilla (Latin): tail; garrulus (Latin): chattering, talkative. Chattering birds with silkworm tails! I had my first encounter with Bohemian Waxwings today on the southwest side of the Glenmore Reservoir. Oh, they make such lovely music! A flock of them (20-30 birds) were flitting about at the top of a spruce tree, the tips of their wings flashing in the sunlight as they flew on and off the branches. I watched them for a few minutes. A cloud of them rose above the spruce and chattered away to a nearby spruce. Another waxwing cloud followed shortly after. Luckily the second spruce had a better vantage point for taking photos.



The white and yellow edges of the wing feathers look particularly lovely from this angle.






Five waxwings. Easier to see if you enlarge and view the image on a large screen.


  1. What a wonderful name these birds have, I find myself repeating it as the sound is so amusing. Gorgeous…fantastic photographs of such beautiful birds. The colors, grays and sepia along with the vibrant yellow punctuation…and their masks!…Thank you for sharing your breathtakingly beautiful experience..visually stunning…obviously I am gushing it is so pleasing to the eyes. Peace.

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  2. Yay, Waxwings! I’m so glad you were visited by a flock of them. Aren’t they just the sweetest? I’ve seen them passing berries to each other while murmuring that soft call they have, and lost my heart to them. your wonderful photos of them started my day off with a cheer 🙂

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    • Yes! My first flock. Quite thrilling! I remember you mentioning the awesomeness of waxwing flocks earlier this year. Maybe I’ll see a flock eating berries later this winter. That would be cool. I wonder what they were doing in the spruces. Hanging out? Eating snow? Eating sap?

      Glad the photos made you smile :-).

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    • Thanks Teresa :-). Both waxwings are lovely but I was super excited to see my first Bohemians. I saw a lot of Cedars in the summer but I think they’ve gone a bit south for the winter. Bohemians seem to like colder weather. I didn’t know about “winter birds” before. It sure adds a bit of excitement to the cold winter. I like going for walks and hearing a variety of birds.

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      • It really does! The only two winter birds we seem to see regular at our house are Juncos and American Tree Sparrows (or was it the Chipping? They look alike but ones in the summer and one comes in the winter). 🙂 We keep hoping we’d get pine siskins but apparently our pine trees have not borne enough cones to attract those yet.

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        • I think the Chipping are summer and the American Tree Sparrows are winter. I’ve seen a few American Tree Sparrows in the last month… all behind some bush branches. I identify them by their bicolored beak, black legs and little, black chest dot. The Juncos arrived in October too.

          I like walking to the coffee shop in the morning and seeing little flocks of Pine Siskins land in the neighborhood spruces. How many more years until your pines get big and coney? I haven’t seen Pine Siskins in a few weeks now. Now I mostly see flocks of White-winged crossbills invade spruce tops.

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          • I just checked with my son and you’re right about the Chipping versus Tree! 😀 I usually just ask him but he wasn’t home when I commented before (he’s home now for a week for the U.S.’s Thanksgiving). They both come to our feeders, but I’ve not seen either in a while so I couldn’t remember and was too lazy to consult a book. LOL! If we had good internet I’d just Google it…sigh. 😉

            Our pines are about 15 years old and some have cones, but not enough of them do. I hope another 5 years will be plenty of time to get enough cones on them to lure the Siskins here!

            We saw White-winged Crossbills in town here, too! So cool!

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            • Google + a good internet connection are really great research tools. It does take much longer to research all the little questions that pop up in a day without them. Asking someone is always the quickest… if they are there and not busy :-).

              Oh, I was wrong about the Siskins leaving Calgary. I saw a little group of them in a bare bush the other day.

              Cool that you saw some White-winged Crossbills! Do you see the red ones as well? I’ve seen fewer of those, and I have yet to take a clear picture.

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  3. Our waxwings (cedar) are just returning to our yard…was watching (listening to them) yesterday. I have wanted to see a Bohemian, but haven’t been able to be at the right place and time. Great shots, Myriam!

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    • Thanks Shannon :-)! Do you have trees or bushes in your yard with fruit that the waxwings like to eat? I watched some Cedar waxwings eating berries and flycatching this summer and early fall but I think they have flown further south now.


        • Awesome fruitiness! I ate my first fresh mulberries from a tree this summer. Tasty :-).

          I looked at your recent post with pictures of your property and winged winter visitors. Looks lovely. I hope to find some time to comment on it soon.

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  4. How exciting! I’ve only seen Cedar waxwings. I love their masks and little pops of color on their wings, and tails.
    You had a lovely look at them. I can’t wait for them to return this way. With any luck I’ll get to see some, and maybe get a lovely image or two like you have.

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    • Oo, I hope you get to see some Cedar waxwings too. They make such lovely music when they are in a flock. And it is so fun to watch them eat. Looking forward to your photos :-). Or maybe you will see other cool birds… I’m never sure what winter flocks I’ll see. I went looking for the Pine Grosbeaks I’d seen four days earlier, but I didn’t see any of those.

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