Watch out for waxwings


Look out for one of Britain’s most exotic-looking birds this winter. Huge numbers of Waxwings have been arriving in the country from Scandinavia during November and December. These pink, starling-sized birds have a striking crest on their head, a black mask, and delicate red, yellow and white markings on their wings – a truly spectacular sight. They feed on berries, and can be remarkably tame and approachable.

Waxwings nest in the far north of Europe and Asia, and a few appear in Britain in most winters, but they’re generally rare here. Occasionally, perhaps due to a poor berry crop in Scandinavia, larger numbers visit our shores, but this winter’s invasion is truly exceptional. There are now many thousands of waxwings in the country. Groups of up to 100 are being seen around London and, while none have yet been reported in Tower Hamlets, it surely won’t be long before they visit our borough.

Watch out for them in gardens, parks and even street trees – anywhere there are lots of berries. And please report any sightings from Tower Hamlets by e-mail to the Biodiversity Officer.

Photo copyright Jonathan Lethbridge


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