Text by Paula Dittrick, TMN CPC blogmaster, with photos by TMN CPC members Hoiman Low and Joyce Tipton
Cedar waxwings have returned to the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, HANC recently noted on its Facebook page. Typically, flocks of waxwings are drawn to HANC’s fruiting trees and shrubs starting in November. But this year, the waxwings came to HANC in December.
Decades ago, I led Sunday tours at the arboretum. One day while making the rounds on my own before the tour started, I saw a flock of waxwings feeding on berries in a particular shrub. The birds were low enough that I got really good looks at them.
But the waxwings had devoured the berries and disappeared by the time I returned with the tour group to that spot.
I remember being so surprised and disappointed that the tour group did not get to see the waxwings. Their colorful plumage features a black mask, warm-brown chest and upper back, and pale-yellowish belly.
The upper wing is a grayish brown with a white line on the trailing edge and white undertail coverts. The name waxwing stems from a wax-like bright red mark on the bird’s wing and a short tail with a wax-like bright, yellow.
Cedar waxwings also are drawn to Seabourne Creek Nature Park in Rosenberg, but a quick informal survey of a few Texas Master Naturalist Coastal Prairie Chapter members indicated no one has seen them at Seabourne yet this winter as of Dec. 19.