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Cedar Boy Saves the Day

August 23, 2011

When I last worked at this bird observatory in 2007, the other bander and I had a tendency to call the birds that we were catching by names other than their real ones.  Sometimes it was just abbreviations, like Swainsie for Swainson’s thrush and Linkie for Lincoln’s sparrow.  Alder Flycatchers were refered to by their French name, Moucherolle des aulne and White-throated sparrow by their Finnish name, Valkokurkkusirkku.   But some nicknames were a little more bizarre, such as Black-capped chickadees became Oreoheads and Yell0w-rumped warblers were Bubus (short for Butter-butt.)  Don’t worry, they all went down on the data sheets by their proper alpha codes.

One time I commented that Cedar waxwings look a little like superheros, with their black eye masks, and after that they became known as Superheros, or sometimes, Cedar Boy.

This is an adult female Cedar Waxwing.  They really do have waxy tips on their wings, the number increasing with age, and males generally having more than females.  This one had a ton, and even had tips on her tail, but other features (such as the amount of black in her chin and the fact that she had a brood patch) indicated that this one was a female.

This is a hatch year bird; you can tell from his streakiness, among other things.   A young Cedar Boy just learning how to save the world!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Michelle permalink
    August 25, 2011 4:35 pm

    We are definitely related. The only thing that could have made this post better would have been if you included an evil villain with a distinctive mustache.

    • August 28, 2011 11:01 pm

      Well, actually, Stellar’s Jays are the bad guys, with their black hoods, but the one we banded recently had his crest down for the photos so he looks completely sweet and innocent rather than like the villain he secretly is.

  2. Janet permalink
    August 25, 2011 6:36 pm

    I second Michelle’s suggestions. I’ll never look at a waxwing the same way!


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