|"Make Up Artist"|
Original in Soft Pastel
10 x 8 inches
Cedar Waxwings get their name from the small red tips on the feathers of their inner wing, which reminded early naturalists of the red sealing wax used on important letters. The birds' red markings are not wax, of course, but keratin ( the same substance as the rest of the feather) formed into a solid flat tip and decorated with red pigment. Carotenoid compounds are common in fruits and seeds, and birds' bodies use these carotenoids to produce the range of red to yellow colors in their plumage.
Waxwings eat mainly fruit, and live an itinerant life, moving continuously through the winter. They spend most of the year in small flocks simply wandering in search of fruit. They will stay in an area only as long as the fruit lasts, then wander again in search of the next meal.
(From: What It's Like To Be A Bird by David Allen Sibley)
This painting is inspired by a flock of these beauties that wandered through our backyard eating the berries of our cypress tree... Waxwings are also known to gorge on pyracantha berries and become "drunk" . Scientists say that pyracantha berries contain hydrogen cyanide, which may act as a mild neurotoxin in birds if consumed in large amounts...
'Tis the season to be merry....
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