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Waxwings in Ireland

04/12/2012 15:09:54

Waxwing in Northern Ireland - Photos courtesy of Christine Cassidy.

Waxwings in Ireland.

December 2012. We have received several reports of waxwings in Ireland. Reader Christine Cassidy has provided us with a series of images taken in Derry of a flock of waxwings she spotted.  We have also had a report of waxwings in north west Donegal. 

Britain has seen a large influx of several thousand waxwings this autumn. With distinctive bright red tips at the end of their dusky pink plumage, square-ended yellow tail feathers and a black ‘highwayman' band running across their eyes, these colourful little birds have big characters. A flock of 1,000 was seen round the Isle of Skye, and several flocks of up to 300 birds have been present in Yorkshire and the Humber region as the birds move south after having depleted berry crops further north. 

Breed in the Arctic

Waxwings are birds of the high Arctic and boreal forest, the closest breeding populations being found in Scandinavia. Every few years, flocks of birds erupt, possibly driven by good breeding seasons, or a lack of berries, their main food source. They then fly across the North Sea to spend the winter here. They often congregate in towns and cities, choosing very public sites such as supermarkets or council car parks where the planting of ornamental berry bushes such as rowan or cotoneaster provide great feeding opportunities. 


Read the comments about this article and leave your own comment


January 2013, was doing the dishes looking out the kitchen window when I suddenly spotted a bird that I had never seen before. Then within minutes there were 8 to 10 of these beautiful birds sitting there in front of me. since then I have found out that they were waxwings and I hope to see them again if maybe in south Germany where we soon move to.

Posted by: Judith Adams | 16 Feb 2013 23:00:43


i spoted a couple of waxwings on sunday in tallaght dublin on sunday

Posted by: peter brennan | 04 Feb 2013 22:18:09


20 waxwings in my garden in Lisburn Co Antrim on 1.2.13 so beautiful!

Posted by: susan brown | 02 Feb 2013 19:15:28


I have 2 waxwings in my garden eating all the red berries

Posted by: Kevin Bradshaw | 05 Dec 2012 16:45:22


saw 10 waxwings eating red berries near cowans tractors in galdonagh/drumoghill. able to get very close. left after eating all berries. think ill plant some berry bushes

Posted by: steve bennelli | 04 Dec 2012 20:42:11

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