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Sunday, December 7, 2014

What color is the Cedar Waxwings' tail?





 
Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwings have already been seen frequently here in north Texas this year. They're starting to appear in groups, in yards now!
 
The tips of their tails are normally a very bright yellow. On a few of them, however, the yellow has been replaced by an orange/rust color. These birds have fed largely on the non-native honeysuckle vine (Japanese or Hall’s Honeysuckle). The native plant (Coral Honeysuckle) is a more natural food source, is less “invasive” and won’t turn the birds orange.

 
 
Who’s getting fooled?     Everyone knows that squirrels bury nuts to eat later. But researchers in Pennsylvania and Connecticut found that squirrels often dig a hole, then don’t bury a nut in it.  When a squirrel knows something is watching, and digging up nuts a moment after he leaves, he may dig fake burial holes to get the follower to give up (maybe it's a bird such as a Blue jay, another squirrel or even a human).  A squirrel may even re-bury a sloppily buried nut to make it harder to pilfer.

 


OWEN YOST, in addition to being a blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect emeritus who has lived and worked in north Texas for over 30 years. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award of the Native Plant Society of Texas, and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Federation of Landscape Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. His office is at Yost87@charter.net in Denton.

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