Wild Birds Unlimited Newsletter
~ For those passionate about birding and nature ~
February 2018                                                                                          Volume 2.18

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Nature News
Bird of the Month
Common Name: Cedar Waxwing
Scientific nameBombycilla cedrorum                         
Cedar Waxwings are sleek, masked birds with unusual red, waxy deposits at the tips of their secondary feathers. They are cinnamon-colored, with grayish wings and tails and yellow terminal tail-bands. They have distinctive crested heads, black throats, and black masks lined with white. Their bellies have a yellowish tinge, and their undertail coverts are white. Juveniles are mottled gray-brown, and have black masks and yellow tail-bands. The red feather-tips increase in number and size as the bird ages.
Cedar Waxwings inhabit open, lowland woodlands with shrubs and small trees, especially when berry-producing shrubs are present. They are often found in streamside woods and avoid the forest interior. They are common in forest clearings, wetlands, edges, residential areas, orchards, and stands of Russian olive.
They are social birds that you're likely to see in flocks year-round. They sit in fruiting trees swallowing berries whole, or pluck them in mid-air with a brief fluttering hover. They also course over water for insects, flying like tubby, slightly clumsy swallows.
Waxwings are often heard before they're seen, so to learn their high-pitched call notes visit ­http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Cedar_Waxwing/sound.Look for them low in berry bushes, high in evergreens, or along rivers and over ponds. Check big flocks of small birds: waxwings are similar to starlings in size and shape, and often form big unruly flocks that grow, shrink, divide, and rejoin like starling flocks.
Cedar Waxwings love fruit. To attract waxwings to your yard, plant native trees and shrubs that bear small fruits, such as dogwood, serviceberry, cedar, juniper, hawthorn, and winterberry.

An interesting fact, the name "waxwing" comes from the waxy red secretions found on the tips of the secondaries of some birds. The exact function of these tips is not known, but they may help attract mates.
Cedar Waxwings with orange instead of yellow tail tips began appearing in the northeastern U.S. and southeastern Canada in the 1960s. The orange color is the result of a red pigment picked up from the berries of an introduced species of honeysuckle. If a waxwing eats enough of the berries while it is growing a tail feather, the tip of the feather will be orange.
The Cedar Waxwing is one of the few North American birds that specializes in eating fruit. It can survive on fruit alone for several months. Brown-headed Cowbirds that are raised in Cedar Waxwing nests typically don't survive, in part because the cowbird chicks can't develop on such a high-fruit diet.
Many birds that eat a lot of fruit separate out the seeds and regurgitate them, but the Cedar Waxwing lets them pass right through. Scientists have used this trait to estimate how fast waxwings can digest fruits.
Because they eat so much fruit, Cedar Waxwings occasionally become intoxicated or even die when they run across overripe berries that have started to ferment and produce alcohol.
Building a nest takes a female Cedar Waxwing 5 to 6 days and may require more than 2,500 individual trips to the nest. They occasionally save time by taking nest materials from other birds' nests, including nests of Eastern Kingbirds, Yellow-throated Vireos, orioles, robins, and Yellow Warblers.

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Keeping water out during the winter
Heated birdbaths and deicers used during the winter months offer a convenient way to provide necessary water to your backyard birds. Birds not only need fresh water to drink but also to bathe and keep feathers clean. 
Made of a durable plastic, these bird bath works in cold weather conditions and will not crack if frozen. The bath's sides are sloped so birds can move to their desired depth for bathing. The texture of the dish provides grip for birds' as they move through the water   

When you feed the birds in your backyard, it shows that you value having a daily relationship with nature and that you are willing to take action to foster it.
Like many of us, if you have been feeding birds for a while...you probably have a reputation. Your friends, neighbors and relatives likely see you as a person who loves nature, and they value your willingness to share the joy of "your" backyard birds at a moment's notice. Your hobby and your backyard truly count as
things that are important to you.

The Great Backyard Bird Count gives you the opportunity to make them count even more than ever by participating in this annual event which links citizens with scientists in an effort to collect important data about backyard birds. The GBBC is a joint project of Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society and is sponsored by Wild Birds  Unlimited. It takes place each February. Count the birds in your backyard, and then simply report the information online at http://gbbc.birdcount.org/.

We can provide a local checklist and help in reporting your data.This extensive information data base is analyzed by scientists to better understand important trends in bird populations, range expansions, habitat changes and shifts in migration patterns. Make your backyard count even more for the birds when you participate in this year's GBBC. And to ensure the birds all show up to be counted, visit our store for the widest variety of great bird food products!

Go here to get a Bird List:  http://gbbc.birdsource.org/gbbcApps/checklist
Upcoming Events

Lahontan Audubon Society
Friday, February 2  8:00am
Field Trip - Washoe Lake and Nearby

Saturday, February 3  9:00am
Virginia Lake, Reno

Tuesday, February 13  6:00pm
LAS Board meeting

Friday, February 16  8:00am
Field Trip - Pyramid Lake

Saturday, February 24  :00am
Annual Riverview Park Winter Bird Trip

Tuesday, February 27  6:30pm
Program Meeting - Yellowstone in Winter - Carol Grenier & Patrick Pevey
Tahoe Institute of Natural Science

Sun Feb 11 @10:00AM - 12:30PM
Carson Valley Raptor Outing - Full

Wed Feb 14 @ 9:00AM - 01:00PM
TBY North Shore Outing

Fri Feb 23 @ 6:30PM - 08:30PM
Alpenglow Mountain Festival: Astronomy Walk
Sat Feb 24 @ 9:30AM - 12:00PM
Alpenglow Mountain Festival Snowshoe Hike 

Nature Happenings

* Great Backyard Bird Count, Feb 16-19th http://gbbc.birdcount.org/
* Project FeederWatch continues, www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw
* February is National Bird Feeding Month
* Unfrozen, fresh water ensures survival; keep heated bird baths plugged in.
* Red-shafted Northern Flickers, our largest woodpecker, begin drilling holes for spring
* Put up a "flicker" specific nest box to provide a much-needed nesting habitat and to
deter them from entering your attic.
* Black Bear cubs are born at the beginning of the month.
* Time to put up a bird house or clean your existing ones.
* Squirrel mating season.
* Owls are the earliest nesters after beginning courtship in December and January.
Listen for their nightly courtship serenades.

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Moana Nursery | 1100 W. Moana Lane | 11301 S. Virginia St. | 7655 Pyramid Hwy. | Reno/Sparks | NV | 89509