Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Corralitas Drive: Cedar Waxwings Getting Drunk

Photo: Diane Edwardson, April 2, 2013.  "Dude, you are so bumming my high right now."  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Yesterday morning, the dogs alerted us to a Cedar Waxwing that appeared to be having trouble standing on the ground.  It was kind of staggering, as if it were drunk.  We scooped it up to keep the dogs away from it.  We didn't see any obvious injuries.  It was just very calm and made no effort to escape.  
Photo: Diane Edwardson, April 2, 2013.  Yes that's a plastic bag, I happened to have one in my hand when I came out to pick up after the dogs.  I didn't know what to expect when I picked up the bird.

Cedar Waxwings are photogenic little birds that flock near the tops of the Peruvian Pepper, Eucalyptus & Rubber Trees in our yard.  They usually don't sit still long enough to get a good photo. 

We took the bird over to a neighbor who rescues wildlife.  She had rescued a Cedar Waxwing with the same symptoms on Sunday.  It was still refusing to fly.  She figured they were getting drunk on fruit. 
Photo: Diane Edwardson, April 2, 2013. 

I emailed Jeff Chapman, Audubon Center Director at Debs Park.  He confirmed, "Cedar Waxwings have a reputation for 'getting drunk.' They feed mostly on berries and this time of year, some of them have actually fermented.  So, what you are seeing is probably that."

I know from other wildlife rescues, that unless the animal is in danger from another predator  - like a cat - it's best to leave the bird on the ground to see what they will do.  Because of the dogs & cats in our yard, we were either going to put the bird up in a tree branch or take it to the neighbor who rescues wildlife. It's best to observe and consult an expert before you attempt to move injured wildlife - remember - it's wild. 

Learn more about Cedar Waxwings: Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Visit the Audubon Center in Debs Park