Welcome to a winter waxwing wonderlandBy Laura Herbert
January 12, 2011
This stunning picture captures a rare glimpse of waxwings flocking to Reading in search of food during the winter season.
The striking birds leave their native Scandinavia in favour of the UK every few winters and come over in large numbers.
Former borough councillor Steve Waite, who saw the birds in Richfield Avenue, Central Reading, said: “They rarely come this far inland from my experience and you don’t normally get them in Reading.
“There is normally a flock of about 50 to 60 and sometimes more than 100.”
He continued: “The unusual thing is that they are fairly urban and will appear in odd places.
“I have heard they have appeared in Wokingham Road and someone has seen them in Forbury Retail Park. You would expect to see them in woodland but they are town dwellers.”
Waxwings tend to feed on berries says the wildlife charity RSPB which is encouraging gardeners not to cut any hedges with berries on until they have all been eaten.
RSPB spokeswoman Sophie McCallum said: “Waxwings only visit the UK very erratically and every winter we wait expectantly to see if this will be the year.
“At the moment we are wondering if it will be a flood or a trickle, but the reported sightings certainly suggest we could be in for a treat this winter.”
The winter in 2008 was a fairly good ‘waxwing winter’ but the last major influx into the UK was in 2004/05. Miss McCallum added: “The reason these birds come to the UK is because they can’t find enough food at home and as the weather worsens it will become tricky here too.
“We can make all the difference by putting out extra food and holding back on cutting hedges with a few last berries still on them.”
Visit www.rspb.org.uk/feedthebirds for more information.
Read more about the waxwings' visit in Adrian Lawson's Rural Reading column in Friday’s getreading newspaper