Bohemian Waxwing at CEI
Cedar Waxwing at CEI

Internationally, in the 21st century, there has been a shockingly, enormous loss of biodiversity due to the impact of habitat changes and global warming. This means losses of insect species, of plants, of amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, a destruction of ecosystems. Global wildlife populations have fallen by 58% since 1970, we should act now to rescue the wildlife we have because these losses are caused by people so it is up to people to try to restore ecosystems and repair as much as possible, the damage done

The Cochrane Ecological Institute’s Mandate includes the rescue and return to the wild of  orphaned and injured wildlife.

 THIS STORY is about our Bohemian waxwing project: Thanks to the sponsorship of Spray Lakes Sawemill (SLS), we have been able to build and complete the construction of Canada’s first specifically designed Cedar and Bohemian Waxwing Aviary for rescued, injured Waxwings to over-winter in until they get healthy enough to release as a Flock the following Spring. We always have to overwinter them, because when we get them they are usually concussed and it takes a while to get them better and by that time the window for migration is closed.

These two species of bird, Cedar and Bohemian waxwings, are extremely social, beautiful, eye-catching, highly vocal, non-territorial birds that migrate to their breeding grounds of open mixed and boreal forest in Canada each Spring and return south to the USA each Fall. Their migration routes take them through hamlets, villages towns and cities, enabling urban children and youth to see the birds in both Spring and Fall. The juvenile birds are most at risk during their southward migration. Rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing these beautiful birds is a viable conservation action towards counteracting biodiversity loss.  We hope that our actions will inform and encourage others to act.  Like many passerine bird species, Cedar and Bohemian populations are declining in parts of their range. Bohemian waxwings are a U.S.-Canada Stewardship species and rate at 9 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score

Both species of waxwing spend their lives within their own flocks. The songs they sing appear to vary between flocks and they have charming habits; presenting each other with fruit or berries, or, if only one bird can reach a bunch of berries at the end of a branch, it will pick berries and pass them on to other birds in the flock. During migration flocks of Bohemian and Cedar waxwings flying through urban centers, settle on municipal plantings of Mountain Ash and other fruiting trees, eat all the berries in one tree and move on. If it freezes the berries will foment and the birds feeding on them will get drunk and are more likely to have an accident. The longer the time the birds spend foraging for food in urban areas the greater the likelihood that some members of the flock will get hit by cars, fly into windows, etc.. If drunk or damaged, unless rescued, the birds will most likely be killed and eaten by predatory urban crows, ravens, and small terrestrial predators.

https://youtu.be/cUdgacRaRi0

If anyone would like to help: we want to plant a waxwing garden of native species for them to feed on once released…and, as usual, we need money to feed them overwinter!

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