A Cedar Waxwing perched in a tree during fall.

How to Attract Cedar Waxwings to your Yard? Expert Guide!

Do you want your yard to be a haven for beautiful birds like Cedar Waxwings? With a little effort and some bird-friendly techniques, you can entice these stunning birds to visit and even stay in your yard. In this comprehensive guide, we will reveal the secrets to attracting Cedar Waxwings to your yard successfully.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Creating a bird-friendly environment is essential to attract Cedar Waxwings to your yard.
  • Understanding Cedar Waxwings’ habitat and behavior is crucial to successfully attracting them to your yard.
  • Providing Cedar Waxwings with a variety of food sources is vital, including fruits, berries, and insects.
  • Planting bird-friendly trees and shrubs, installing bird feeders and nesting boxes, and offering a welcoming water source are all effective strategies for attracting Cedar Waxwings to your yard.
  • Maintaining a safe and predator-free environment and observing Cedar Waxwings’ behavior are essential steps to sustaining their presence in your yard.
Cedar Waxwing eating berries
Image by IlyaYurukin from Pixabay

How to Attract Cedar Waxwings

Cedar Waxwings are beautiful and unique birds that can be attracted to your yard or garden with a few simple steps. These birds are primarily fruit-eaters and are attracted to trees and shrubs that produce berries, such as cedar, holly, and dogwood.

Planting these types of trees and shrubs in your yard can help attract Cedar Waxwings. Additionally, providing a source of water, such as a bird bath or fountain, can also be appealing to these birds. Cedar Waxwings are also known to be social birds and may be attracted to feeders that offer fruit, such as chopped apples or raisins.

It’s important to note that Cedar Waxwings are sensitive to pesticides and other chemicals, so it’s best to avoid using these products in your yard. By providing a natural and welcoming environment for these birds, you can increase your chances of attracting Cedar Waxwings to your yard and enjoy their unique beauty and behaviors.

Understanding Cedar Waxwings and their Habitat

Cedar Waxwings are a unique species of bird known for their distinctive plumage and social behavior. These birds are attracted to areas with fruit-bearing trees, especially those that produce berries, such as serviceberry, dogwood, and cherry.

The Cedar Waxwings habitat includes forests, woodlands, and orchards throughout North America. They are also commonly found near water sources, such as streams and rivers.

If you live in an area with these types of habitat, you have a good chance of attracting Cedar Waxwings to your yard. However, it is important to note that these birds are migratory and may only visit during specific seasons.

Attracting Cedar Waxwings

There are several ways to attract Cedar Waxwings to your yard, including providing a food source, planting bird-friendly trees and shrubs, creating a welcoming water source, installing bird feeders and offering nesting boxes. By creating a bird-friendly environment, you can increase the chances of Cedar Waxwings visiting and staying in your yard.

It is important to remember that Cedar Waxwings are social birds that prefer to travel in flocks. By providing a variety of food sources and shelter, you can create a welcoming environment that will attract and retain these birds.

In the next section, we will explore the different types of food sources that Cedar Waxwings are attracted to and how to provide them in your yard.

Providing Cedar Waxwings with Food Sources

One of the best ways to attract Cedar Waxwings to your yard is by providing a variety of food sources that they are attracted to. Cedar Waxwings primarily feed on fruits and berries, as well as insects during breeding season. Creating an abundant and diverse food source is key to luring these beautiful birds to your yard.

Fruits and Berries

Cedar Waxwings are particularly drawn to fruit and berry trees and shrubs that produce small, colorful fruits. Some of their favorites include:

CherryCherry tree
ServiceberryServiceberry shrub/tree
RaspberryRaspberry bush
MulberryMulberry tree

When selecting trees and shrubs to plant in your yard, aim for those that bear fruit throughout the season to provide a continuous food source for Cedar Waxwings.


During breeding season, Cedar Waxwings also feed on insects to provide their young with a protein-rich diet. Some of the insects that Cedar Waxwings are attracted to include:

  • Caterpillars
  • Beetles
  • Ants
  • Flies

You can attract insects to your yard by incorporating native plants that provide a habitat for them, such as milkweed or goldenrod.

In addition to planting fruit trees and shrubs and providing insects, you can also offer Cedar Waxwings other food sources such as mealworms, suet, and nectar. By creating a diverse and abundant food source, you will increase your chances of attracting Cedar Waxwings to your yard.

cedar waxwing eating blueberries
Image by GeorgeB2 from Pixabay

Planting Bird-Friendly Trees and Shrubs

Cedar Waxwings are drawn to specific trees and shrubs that provide the necessary shelter, nesting sites, and food sources. To create an attractive landscape for these birds, consider incorporating some of the following plants into your yard:

ServiceberryBerries ripen early in the season, attracting Cedar Waxwings for spring migration.
HawthornProduces red berries in the fall, providing food for Cedar Waxwings during migration and winter.
MulberryProduces abundant fruit that Cedar Waxwings love to eat in the summer.
CherryProvides fruit in the summer that Cedar Waxwings find irresistible.
CrabappleProduces fruit in the fall that Cedar Waxwings enjoy.

These plants not only provide food sources for Cedar Waxwings but also offer shelter and nesting opportunities. Consider planting a mix of deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs to create a varied landscape that meets the birds’ needs throughout the year.

Landscaping for Cedar Waxwings

When planning your yard’s landscaping, keep in mind that Cedar Waxwings prefer open areas with access to fruit trees, open fields, and water sources. Avoid planting tall, dense hedges that will limit the birds’ visibility and make it difficult for them to navigate your yard.

Instead, create open spaces that allow Cedar Waxwings to fly freely and access food sources easily. Plant fruit trees and shrubs in areas that receive plenty of sunlight, and space them out to allow the birds to move around them freely. You may also want to consider providing perches, such as dead trees or branches, that Cedar Waxwings can use as lookout spots.

By taking these steps, you can create a bird-friendly yard that not only attracts Cedar Waxwings but also provides for their needs throughout the year.

Creating a Welcoming Water Source

Water sources are essential for attracting birds to your yard, including Cedar Waxwings. These birds are particularly drawn to shallow water, such as birdbaths or puddles, where they can dip their bills and drink. To create a welcoming water source in your yard:

  1. Choose a location that is visible but also protected from strong winds.
  2. Select a container or basin that is shallow enough for birds to access, ideally no deeper than 2-3 inches.
  3. Use a water agitator or fountain to create movement and sound, which can help attract birds.
  4. Change the water regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria and algae, and to ensure the water is always fresh and appealing to birds.

Keep in mind that Cedar Waxwings are also attracted to moving water sources, such as small fountains or drippers, which can mimic the sound of a running stream or waterfall.

Attracting Multiple Species

To attract a variety of birds to your yard, consider incorporating different types of water sources, such as small ponds, streams, or waterfalls. You can also create a layered effect by adding plants around the water source to provide shelter and nest sites for birds.

By offering a reliable water source in your yard, you can increase your chances of attracting Cedar Waxwings, as well as a range of other bird species.

Installing Bird Feeders for Cedar Waxwings

Bird feeders can be an effective way to attract Cedar Waxwings to your yard, especially during the winter months when natural food sources may be scarce. When choosing a bird feeder, it’s essential to keep in mind the specific food preferences of Cedar Waxwings.

Cedar Waxwings are particularly fond of fruit, so selecting a feeder that can accommodate cut-up pieces of apple, pear, or berries is ideal. A shallow platform feeder or a tube feeder with a tray attached is the best option for offering fruit to Cedar Waxwings.

It’s also important to keep the feeder constantly stocked with fresh fruit and to clean it regularly to prevent mold or bacteria buildup. Cedar Waxwings are known for their flocking behavior, so multiple feeding stations may be necessary to accommodate larger groups of birds.

In addition to fruit, Cedar Waxwings also enjoy consuming insects, particularly during the breeding season. A suet feeder or a specialized insect feeder can be used to provide a source of protein for these birds. Make sure to place the feeder in a sheltered location protected from the wind and rain.

Tips for Attracting Cedar Waxwings with Bird Feeders

  • Choose a feeder that can accommodate fruit and insects.
  • Keep the feeder constantly stocked with fresh food.
  • Clean the feeder regularly to prevent mold or bacteria buildup.
  • Place the feeder in a sheltered location protected from the wind and rain.
  • Consider using multiple feeding stations to accommodate larger flocks of birds.

By providing the right type of bird feeder with the appropriate food sources, you can attract Cedar Waxwings to your yard and enjoy their presence all year round.

Offering Nesting Boxes for Cedar Waxwings

Providing nesting boxes can greatly increase the chances of Cedar Waxwings staying in your yard long-term. These birds are cavity-nesters, meaning they prefer to build their nests in hollow spaces. By offering nesting boxes, you can provide suitable shelter and increase the likelihood of successful breeding.

When selecting or building nesting boxes for Cedar Waxwings, consider the following:

SizeThe entrance hole should be 1.5 inches in diameter and the interior should be at least 6 inches deep.
LocationHang the nesting box at a height of 6-15 feet in a sheltered location, such as near a tree trunk or in a garden shed.
MaterialsUse untreated wood or PVC to construct the nesting box. Cedar Waxwings prefer natural materials.

When offering nesting boxes, it’s important to keep in mind that Cedar Waxwings typically return to the same nesting sites each year. Be patient, as it may take a season or two for them to discover and use the nesting boxes in your yard.

By offering nesting boxes for Cedar Waxwings, you can provide a safe and secure environment for breeding and increase the chances of these birds making your yard their permanent home.

Cedar Waxwing at birdbath
Image by GeorgeB2 from Pixabay

Creating a Safe and Predator-Free Environment

If you want to attract Cedar Waxwings to your yard, it’s crucial to create a safe and predator-free environment that will make them feel secure. Predators such as cats, raccoons, and snakes can pose a significant threat to Cedar Waxwings and their nests.

To ensure a bird-friendly yard, here are some strategies you can implement:

  • Keep your cats indoors and supervise dogs when they are outside
  • Clear away any brush or debris that could provide cover for predators
  • Install motion-activated lights to deter nighttime predators
  • Place nesting boxes high up in trees out of reach of predators

By taking these simple steps, you can create a safe and inviting space for Cedar Waxwings and other birds to thrive in your yard.

Observing Cedar Waxwings and Enjoying their Presence

Once you have successfully attracted Cedar Waxwings to your yard, it’s time to sit back and observe their behavior. These beautiful birds are a joy to watch and can provide hours of entertainment.

One of the most interesting things to observe is their feeding habits. Cedar Waxwings are known for their love of fruit, and you may see them perched in trees and shrubs, plucking berries and other fruits from the branches. They are also fond of insects and will catch them mid-air or from the foliage.

If you are lucky, you may even witness Cedar Waxwings engaging in their unique courtship behavior. During breeding season, males will pass berries and insects to females as a sign of affection.

To ensure you are observing Cedar Waxwings respectfully, always keep a safe distance and never approach their nests. Remember to also keep pets and other animals away from their feeding and nesting areas.

Enjoy the presence of these beautiful birds in your yard and continue to provide them with a safe and welcoming environment.

Troubleshooting Common Challenges

Attracting Cedar Waxwings to your yard can be a rewarding experience, but it may also come with some challenges. Here are some common issues you may encounter and how to troubleshoot them.

Deterring Unwanted Birds

While attracting Cedar Waxwings to your yard, you may also attract unwanted birds who compete for the same food sources. To deter these birds, try using bird feeders that are designed specifically for Cedar Waxwings. You can also try adjusting the feeders’ location or the type of food offered. Another option is to provide multiple feeding stations to spread out the feeding activity.

Addressing Potential Conflicts

If you have pets in your yard, they may pose a potential threat to Cedar Waxwings. Keep cats indoors and monitor dogs when they are outside to prevent them from disturbing bird nests. You may also need to address potential conflicts with neighbors who do not appreciate the increased bird activity in your yard or who have concerns about bird droppings. Consider communicating with your neighbors and finding solutions that work for both parties, such as limiting the feeding activity during certain times of the day.

Maintaining a Bird-Friendly Yard

To ensure the continued presence of Cedar Waxwings in your yard, it’s essential to maintain a bird-friendly environment. Keep bird feeders and water sources clean and well-stocked. Monitor the landscaping to ensure that the plants are healthy and providing adequate shelter and nesting sites. Remove any potential hazards, such as clutter, chemicals, or sharp objects. By maintaining a bird-friendly yard, you can attract and enjoy Cedar Waxwings for years to come.


Attracting Cedar Waxwings to your yard is a rewarding experience that requires a bit of effort and understanding of their habitat and behaviors.

By providing an abundant food source, suitable nesting sites, a welcoming water source, and a predator-free environment, you can create a bird-friendly yard that will attract Cedar Waxwings and other birds.

Observing these stunning birds and enjoying their presence is a treat that brings a sense of joy and wonder to any outdoor space. Remember to practice responsible birdwatching and respect their natural habitat.

If you encounter any challenges in attracting Cedar Waxwings to your yard, refer to the troubleshooting section of this guide to find solutions to common issues.

Start creating your Cedar Waxwing paradise today and bring the beauty and wonder of these birds to your yard.

A Cedar Waxwing perched on a tree branch.
Image by Jack Bulmer from Pixabay

FAQs: How to Attract Cedar Waxwings to your Yard?

How do I attract Cedar Waxwings to my yard?

To attract Cedar Waxwings to your yard, create a bird-friendly environment with abundant food sources, nesting opportunities, and a safe space. Plant fruit-bearing trees and shrubs, provide a water source, install bird feeders, and offer nesting boxes. Avoid using pesticides and create a peaceful atmosphere.

What kind of food do Cedar Waxwings eat?

Cedar Waxwings primarily feed on fruits, berries, and insects. They are particularly attracted to fruits like berries, cherries, and apples. Creating a variety of fruit-bearing trees and shrubs in your yard can help attract Cedar Waxwings.

What trees and shrubs are attractive to Cedar Waxwings?

Cedar Waxwings are attracted to trees and shrubs that provide both food and shelter. Some examples include cedar trees, juniper bushes, hawthorns, and serviceberries. Incorporating these plants into your landscaping can help attract Cedar Waxwings to your yard.

How can I provide a water source for Cedar Waxwings?

Cedar Waxwings are drawn to water sources like birdbaths, ponds, or small fountains. Ensure that the water is clean and readily available. Adding shallow dishes with pebbles can provide a suitable drinking area for the birds.

What type of bird feeders are suitable for Cedar Waxwings?

Cedar Waxwings are attracted to platform feeders or tray-style feeders that can hold fruits or suet. Opt for feeders with raised edges to prevent the food from getting wet or contaminated. Place the feeders in locations where the birds can easily access them.

How can I attract Cedar Waxwings to use nesting boxes?

Cedar Waxwings typically do not use traditional nesting boxes. Instead, they build their nests in trees and shrubs. To attract them, create a diverse and natural habitat with suitable plants that provide nesting opportunities.

How can I create a safe environment for Cedar Waxwings?

To create a safe environment, minimize the use of pesticides and chemicals in your yard. Avoid placing feeders or nesting boxes near windows to prevent potential collisions. Install deterrents like bird netting to protect fruits and berries from unwanted birds.

How can I observe and enjoy Cedar Waxwings in my yard?

To observe and enjoy Cedar Waxwings, set up a comfortable observation area with binoculars or a camera. Observe their feeding habits, behavior, and breeding activities from a respectful distance. Avoid disturbing the birds or their nesting areas.

What should I do if I face challenges attracting Cedar Waxwings?

Common challenges may include deterring unwanted birds or conflicts with other species. To overcome these challenges, consider adjusting the types of food offered in feeders, relocating feeders to different areas, or creating separate feeding stations for specific bird species.

What fruit do Cedar Waxwings eat?

Cedar waxwings are known for their love of fruit. They have a variety of favorite fruits and berries including cherries, blueberries, raspberries, mulberries, apples, grapes, peaches, pears, figs, oranges, blackberries, and more.

Do Cedar Waxwings eat holly berries?

Cedar waxwings are a type of bird that likes to eat holly berries. The reason they like these berries is that they have a tart taste, which cedar waxwings enjoy. Cedar waxwings will also eat fruit such as blueberries and blackberries, but not in the same quantity as holly berries.

Do Cedar Waxwings eat elm buds?

It turns out that while cedar waxwings will eat elm buds when there are no other options available, it’s not their preferred choice of food. Cedar Waxwings are known for eating mostly fruit, so it is unlikely that they would consume elm buds if there are berries, and fruit available.

Are Cedar Waxwing birds rare?

Cedar Waxwing birds are not considered to be rare. They can be found in most of the continental United States and Canada during the winter months, though they do migrate south for summer. Cedar Waxwings also breed in temperate regions of Europe and Asia.

What do Cedar Waxwings eat off of apple trees?

They eat a wide variety of things, but one thing they have a particular taste for is apples. Cedar waxwings often flock to apple trees and gorge themselves on the fruit. They like to eat any sort of apple that’s available, whether it be red or green. But if there’s no other option, cedar waxwings will eat crab apples instead- although they’re not as tasty!


  • Vince S

    Meet Vince, the passionate founder and author of Learn Bird Watching, boasting 30 years of birding experience. With an unwavering mission to empower fellow bird enthusiasts, Vince shares invaluable wisdom and guidance. As a dedicated moderator and contributor to Quora's Bird Watchers' Club, he actively engages with the birding community, where his insightful answers have garnered over 440,000 views and over 2,670 upvotes. Whether you're a budding birder or a seasoned avian aficionado, his wealth of knowledge is at your service.