In On the Move, our regular column about migration, we present pairs of distribution maps from eBird that you can use to compare where interesting birds are at different times of year. We featured Bohemian Waxwing, pictured above, in our February 2016 issue.
Breeding in open coniferous forests in the boreal zone of Alaska and Canada, Bohemian Waxwing in July is beyond the reach of most birders. It wanders widely in search of sugary fruits during the winter months, however, and by February (right) is found across southern Canada and the northern lower 48 states. Its winter movements are largely unpredictable. Enormous flocks may descend on parks, gardens, and neighborhoods containing fruit-bearing trees, and waxwings may persist in a single location until every berry is gone. The species largely vacates the northernmost part of its breeding range during winter, but flocks often remain where berries are plentiful, as shown by the purple squares in Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska, on the February map. If you don’t already know Bohemian’s call, learn it. It’s a lower-pitched, burrier seeee than Cedar Waxwing’s high-pitched whistle.
eBird is the real-time online checklist operated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon. “On the Move” is written by eBird’s Garrett MacDonald, Chris Wood, Marshall Iliff, and Brian Sullivan. Submit your bird sightings at ebird.org.
A version of this article appeared in “Birding Briefs” in the February 2016 issue of BirdWatching. Subscribe.
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