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Bohemian Waxwings Wander South

Living the itinerant life!
© Terry Elniski View Large

In winter, when snow blankets the northern states, nearly all of the songbirds that graced the days of summer are gone. But there’s one special winter visitor that fills the absence: the Bohemian Waxwing. In autumn, waxwings wander south from the boreal forest into the northern states and along the Rockies. Sometimes, they venture even farther south. In fact, it’s this itinerant life that earned them the name “Bohemian.”

Today's show brought to you by Forterra, saving the places that are keystones of a sustainable future in the Pacific Northwest.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 
BirdNote®  
Bohemian Waxwings Wander South 
Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote.
[Winter sound image, such as fierce wind]

In winter, when snow blankets the northern states, nearly all of the beautiful songbirds that graced the days of summer are long gone. They’re living out the cold months in warmer climes. But there’s one special winter visitor that goes a long way to filling the absence left by the birds of summer. 
[Bohemian Waxwing flock calls] 

Picture a starling-sized bird with a swanky crest, a black mask, wings painted in red, yellow, black and white, and a tail boldly tipped with yellow. This glamorous winter visitor is the Bohemian Waxwing.  [Call of Bohemian Waxwing]

When Bohemian Waxwings appear on the scene, they arrive in flocks, often numbering in the hundreds. They roam the landscape in search of winter fruits: berries of mountain ash or juniper, rose hips, even unpicked apples. [Waxwing flocks are highly cooperative – a trait imperative in locating highly dispersed sources of food.]

In autumn, departing their summer haunts in the boreal forest, waxwings wander south into the northern states and along the Rockies. Some years, they venture even farther south. In fact, it’s this itinerant life that earned them the name “Bohemian,” although the name seems equally well suited to their unconventional – and exquisite - appearance. [Bohemian Waxwing flock calls] 

Writers for BirdNote include Bob Sundstrom, Ellen Blackstone, Todd Peterson, Dennis Paulson, and Gordon Orians. Our producer is John Kessler and our executive producer is Chris Peterson. I’m Michael Stein. 

###

Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Flock calls of Bohemian Waxwings [170762] recorded by D. McCartt and [130932] recorded by G. Vyn.  
Wind Nature Essentials #2 recorded by Gordon Hempton, QuietPlanet.com
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2016 Tune In to Nature.org   January 2014/2018  Narrator: Michael Stein
ID#      BOWA-02-2014-01-11 BOWA-02

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