Often thought of as one of the UK’s most attractive birds, waxwings are a winter visitor arriving in the UK all dolled up with heavy eye makeup and brightly coloured wing feathers to match. Waxwings get their name, as you might have guessed, from the way their brightly coloured wing feathers look like they have a wax coating.
Visiting us from Scandinavia when numbers boom locally, waxwings spend the winter months in the UK with us hoping to get a better share of food resources here. Able to put away 800 – 1000 berries a day, which equates to roughly half their body size, waxwings can arrive in areas and strip the trees bare of their berries moving down the coast of the UK from location to location in the hunt for more. Some years we are only treated with a hundred or so visitors but in other years thousands can arrive, an event which is referred to as an irruption.