Panther Island Adventures!

Panther Island is 2,800 acres of restored wetland and upland habitats situated in the northwest corner of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary's 13,000 acres. It is home to numerous plants and animals including the Florida panther and the iconic wood stork.
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Monday, February 22, 2010

Bird of the Week Feb. 22: Cedar Waxwings

Cedar waxwings are winter residents of Florida. These birds travel in large flocks and are very social. Their name comes from the red waxlike secretions on the tips of its secondaries. Why does this happen? We don't know yet but it might be to help attract a mate. These  birds typically are found in woodlands, especially along streams but can be found in farmlands, suburbs, and towns with fruit trees.
Cedar waxwings are one of the few bird species in North America that are fruit-eating specialists and can survive for months on fruit alone! Often birds that eat fruit (frugivores) spit the seeds back out but not these guys; they allow the seeds to pass through their systems which has allowed scientists to estimate how long it takes for them to digest their food. Sometimes they actually become intoxicated when they eat too many overripe berries that have begun to ferment. Crazy!In the summer they will supplement their diets with protein-rich insects.
These birds are monogamous and will search for a nest site together, but the female makes the decision. The female waxwings are the ones that build the majority of the nest by weaving twigs, blossoms, string, horsehair, or other similar materials into a bulky cup. This process takes 5-6 days and can take upwards of 2,500 trips to and from the nest. Incubation is done by both parents for 12-16 days and the young are fed for 14-18 days by both ma and pa. These guys are attracted to birdbaths and will eat berries and raisins from bird feeders.

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