Influx of waxwings from Scandinavia looking for food

Mon, Dec 24, 2012, 00:00

Birdwatch Ireland has reported an unusual influx of waxwings to Ireland this winter with sightings reported across the country.

The birds, which have greyish-brown plumage, crested heads and waxy red wing tips, are irregular winter visitors. They migrate to Ireland from remote forests in Scandinavia and Siberia, and are typically seen in flocks in city gardens and in the countryside.

Irish ornithologists say the recent influx of waxwings may have been prompted by a combination of a good breeding year, boosting bird numbers, and the failure of the berry crop in the birds’ Scandinavian habitat. With food scarce, large numbers of waxwings have started arriving in Ireland uncharacteristically early in the winter and in greater numbers.