Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus), Cedar Waxwing (B. cedrorum), American Robin (Turdus migratorius): Barry Kent MacKay

This oil painting is of two Bohemian Waxwings (Bombycilla garrulus), three Cedar Waxwings (B. cedrorum) and one American Robin (Turdus migratorius) as they might appear in autumn. The Bohemian Waxwing has a circumpolar range, mostly in the boreal and mountainous forests. Cedar Waxwings breed only in North America but may wander as far south as the West Indies and even northern South America. The American Robin is found throughout almost all of North America wintering as far south as southern Central America. It has been estimated that there are about 320 million of them, spread over 16,000,000 square kilometers (6,200,00 square miles). While it is found in remote, boreal forests it is by far the best known of the three species as it also frequents gardens, parks and orchards and nests in close proximity to people.  All three species form autumn and winter flocks, and all include berries in their diets, and so the scenario I imagined could occur, although I have only ever seen any two of those three species eating at the same food source at the same time. 

Waxwings are so named because often the tips of their secondary wing feathers have small, flattened projections of the central shaft that are red in colour and resemble, in appearance and texture, the sealing wax that is used to stamp formal documents and was once used to seal envelopes. Sometimes there are similar tips at the end of the tail feathers. Waxwings have beautifully smooth, silk-textured plumage.

There is quite a lot of geographic variation in American Robins, with seven subspecies recognized. I have shown the Eastern, nominate one that usually occurs here in southern Ontario, although we also see dark-backed individuals of the northeastern race, T. m. nigrideus, and those that show features of both.

This is in oils on compressed hardboard and is 24 by 18 inches. 

Barry Kent MacKay

Bird Artist, Illustrator

Studio: (905) 472 9731

Purchase, print, product info:

31 Colonel Butler Drive

Markham, ON L3P 6B6 Canada

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