|Conservation status||Breeding population is impossible to census, but numbers reaching some southerly areas in winter seem to have increased in recent years.|
|Habitat||In summer, boreal forests, muskeg; in winter, widespread, including towns. Breeds in far northern forest in open areas, around edges of burns or bogs, or in places with scattered taller trees above brushy understory. Winters in wooded semi-open country where food is available; often concentrates in towns, where plantings of fruiting trees provide abundant berries.|
Takes insects by watching from high perch, then flying out to catch them in mid-air. Also forages in trees. Takes berries while perched or hovering. Except when nesting, almost always forages in flocks.
4-6, sometimes fewer. Pale bluish gray, heavily dotted with black, especially toward larger end. Incubation is probably by female only, about 14-15 days. Young: Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave the nest about 14-18 days after hatching, continue to associate with parents for some time thereafter, perhaps remaining with them through first fall and winter migration.
Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave the nest about 14-18 days after hatching, continue to associate with parents for some time thereafter, perhaps remaining with them through first fall and winter migration.
Mainly insects and berries. Feeds mostly on insects in summer, especially flying insects. Eats more berries and fruits as they become available, and these make up most of winter diet; important are berries of mountain-ash and junipers, also many others. Also eats seeds of birch and other trees, and will drink oozing sap.
Courtship displays may include both birds perching close together with body feathers puffed out; male passes berry, flower, or other item to female. Nest: Placed on horizontal branch of tree, often spruce, usually 6-20' above the ground, sometimes much higher. Nest (built by both sexes) is an open cup of twigs, grass, and moss, lined with soft materials such as fine grass and feathers.
Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Movements highly variable. In some winters, big flights extend as far east and south as New England, while in other years they are almost absent there. Similarly irregular south of Canada in the west.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for this species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsHigh-pitched, lisping seeee, harsher and more grating than call of Cedar Waxwing.
Learn more about this sound collection.