WAXWING , a
See also:bird first so called apparently by P . J . Selby in 1825 (Illustr . Brit .
See also:Ornithology, p . 87), having been before known as the "
See also:silk-tail" (Philos . Transactions, 1685, p . 1161)—a literal rendering of the German Seidenschwanz—or " chatterer "—the prefix " German," " Bohemian " or " waxen " being often also applied . Selby's convenient name has now been generally adopted, since the bird is readily distinguished from almost all others by the curious expansion of the
See also:shaft of some of its wing-feathers at the tip into a flake that looks like
See also:scarlet sealing-
See also:wax, while its exceedingly silent
See also:habit makes the name " chatterer" wholly inappropriate, and indeed this last arose from a misinterpretation of the specific
See also:term garrulus, meaning a jay (from the general resemblance in
See also:colour of the two birds), and not referring to any garrulous quality . It is the Ampelis garrulus of
See also:Linnaeus and of more
See also:recent ornithologists, and is the type of the Passerine
See also:family Ampelidae . The waxwing is a bird that for many years excited vast
See also:interest . An irregular winter-visitant, sometimes in countless hordes, to the whole of the central and some parts of
See also:Europe, it was of old
See also:time looked upon as the
See also:harbinger of war, plague or
See also:death, and, while its harmonious coloration and the
See also:grace of its
See also:form were attractive, the curiosity with which its irregular appearances were regarded was enhanced by the mystery which enshrouded its birthplace, and until the summer of 1856 defied the searching of any explorer .
See also:year, however, all doubt was dispelled through the successful
See also:search in
See also:Lapland, organized by
See also:John Wolley, as briefly described by him to the Zoological Society (Proceedings, 1857, pp . 55, 56, p1. cxxii.).1 In 1858 H . E .
See also:Dresser found a small settlement of the
See also:species on an
See also:island in the Baltic near
See also:Uleaborg, and with his own hands took a
See also:nest . It is now
See also:pretty evident that the wax-wing, though doubtless breeding yearly in some parts of
See also:northern Europe, is as irregular in the choice of its summer-quarters as in that of its winter-retreats . Moreover, the species exhibits the same irregular habits in
See also:America . It has been found in
See also:Nebraska in " millions," as well as breeding on the
See also:Yukon and on the
See also:river . Beautiful as is the bird with its full erectile crest, its
See also:brown plumage passing in parts into
See also:grey or
See also:chestnut, and relieved by black,
See also:white and yellow—all of the purest tint—the
See also:external feature which has invited most
See also:attention is the " sealing-wax " (already mentioned) which tips some of the secondary or radial quills, and occasionally those of the tail . This is nearly as much exhibited by the kindred species, A. cedrorum—the well-known
See also:cedar-bird of the
See also:English in
See also:North America—which is easily distinguished by its smaller
See also:size, less black
See also:chin-spot, the yellower tinge of the
See also:lower parts and the want of white on the wings . In the A. phoenicopterus of southern-eastern
See also:Siberia and
See also:Japan, the remiges and rectrices are tipped with red in the ordinary way without dilatation of the shaft of the feathers . Both the waxwing and cedar-bird seem to live chiefly on
See also:insects in summer, but are marvellously addicted to berries during the
See also:rest of the year, and will
See also:gorge themselves if opportunity allow . They are pleasant cage-birds, quickly becoming tame .
The erratic habits of the waxwing are probably due chiefly to the supplies of
See also:food it may require, prompted also by the number of mouths to be fed, for there is some reason to think that this varies greatly from one year to another, according to
See also:season . The flocks which visit Britain and other countries outs&.de the breeding range of the species naturally contain a very large proportion of
See also:young birds . (A .
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