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Archive for January 16, 2023

Bohemian Waxwings Dining On Bald-faced Hornet Larvae

We think of Bohemian Waxwings, colorful winter visitors, as primarily consumers of sugary fruits, but their diet is not exclusively frugivorous.  They (and Cedar Waxwings) eat sap drips in the spring and aerial insects, especially emergent aquatic species, in the summer.

During the winter, in addition to fruits, Bohemian Waxwings also feed on protein-rich foods when they are available.  Pictured is one of many Bohemian Waxwings that found a goldmine of protein —  dead Bald-faced Hornet larvae.  While the hornet queen overwinters under loose bark or a similarly protected area, the larvae that are developing within the nest when a hard frost hits are killed.  Bohemian Waxwings apparently recognize this rich source of protein.  Scale insects and tree buds (American Elm and ash species) are also consumed in the winter and spring. (Photograph by Terry Marron)

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