Posted by: braddenvillage | January 3, 2011

Waxwing invasion – 100’s sighted in Northamptonshire

Punk hairstyle and pink plumage: Waxwing lovers are in for a treat this winter

By DAVID DERBYSHIRE reported in the Daily Mail online – see below for  link

Last updated at 12:16 AM on 29th October 2010

For bird lovers, it is something of a treat.

Waxwings, noted for their distinctive pink plumage and ‘punk’ hairstyle, have arrived in Britain in the biggest numbers for a decade.

Usually only a few hundred of the brightly coloured birds fly to the UK from Scandinavia and Russia in search of food each winter.

The last big invasions of waxwings took place in 2008 and 2004 when they were spotted at nearly 2,000 sites across the country. In the last week they have been seen at 365 locations - suggesting a record yearThe last big invasions of waxwings took place in 2008 and 2004 when they were spotted at nearly 2,000 sites across the country. In the last week they have been seen at 365 locations – suggesting a record year 

But in the last week alone, more than 2,500 have landed on these shores – and more are thought to be on their way.

Nick Moran, from the British Trust for Ornithology, said: ‘Normally there’s a pattern of arrival. They are usually first seen in the North and East and they filter down the country.

‘This time they are everywhere above a line drawn between London and the Wirral – they have been seen in Kent and East Anglia as well as the Isle of Mull.’

The largest flocks, containing nearly 500 waxwings, arrived in Scotland a week ago.

Big flocks have been seen along the east coast, and one has even been reported near Bath.

Invasion: In the last week alone, more than 2,500 waxwings have landed on these shores, with more on their way.

The birds: Sights such as this, of waxwings converging on trees to look for food, will be common this yearThe birds: Sights such as this, of waxwings converging on trees to look for food, will be common this year 

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1324619/Punk-hairstyle-pink-plumage-waxwing-lovers-treat-winter.html#ixzz1A0FqluJB

WAXWINGS PROFILE

Waxwings are plump birds, slightly smaller than starlings.

They have pinkish-brown colouring, a black mask around their eyes, yellow and white in their wings and a yellow-tipped tail.

They have red tips on their wings which look like sealing wax – giving them their name.

The birds are relaxed around people and often congregate in supermarket car parks, attracted to the orange and red berry-bearing shrubs planted in public spaces.

They have a trilling call – which bird experts say is reminiscent of ‘sid-little’.

Berries are their favourite food. They are fond of rowan, hawthorn, cotoneaster and rose.

Before mating, birds pass a fruit back and forth several times. When one bird eats the fruit, they copulate.

They do not breed in Britain. Invasions or ‘irruptions’ occur when rowan berry crops fail in Scandinavia and Russia.

Experts are unsure why so many have migrated, although they believe the birds may have been encouraged to head south early by the freezing temperatures which hit Scandinavia earlier this month.

‘They may also have had a good breeding season,’ Mr Moran added.

‘And they have had good conditions for migrating – it’s been cold but not stormy and there have been light easterly winds which will have given them a push.’

Last year bird watchers reported 143 waxwings by the end of October and 1,150 over the whole winter. This year there already been about 2,500.

Gemma Rogers, of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, said the UK was heading for a ‘waxwing winter’.

She added: ‘We ask that as well as people enjoying them, if they still have got bushes and hedges with a few berries on them don’t cut them down yet.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1324619/Punk-hairstyle-pink-plumage-waxwing-lovers-treat-winter.html#ixzz1A0FPCWZb


Responses

  1. Hmmm…great to find out, there were without a doubt a number of points that I hadn’t thought of before.


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