Tag Archives: Waxwing

Yew for redwing

I planted a yew (Taxus x meda “Hicksii”) next to the kitchen window mainly for the birds some 20 years ago and the berries  regularly attract blackbirds, fieldfares, robin, blackcap, waxwings and as here a redwing only about 1-2m from me!
Norsk: Svarttrost, gråtrost, rødstrupe, munk, sidensvans og rødvingetrost!

Snow birds

Two days of snow has attracted a large flock of birds to my bird feeder with some 30 bramblings (bjørkefink) and, nice to see, around 25 house sparrows (gråspurv), largely missing in recent years.
Even waxwings (sidensvans) are attracted although they don’t stay for long.

Synchronised waxwings

Some things happen just too fast for us to notice. Yesterday I made this video of a flock of waxwings:

I stopped the film and took the following screen grab and noticed that a couple of the birds were in gliding flight, looking like bullets:

I took another screen grab one second on and to my astonishment almost all the birds had synchronised into gliding flight:

Apparently, this synchronisation of waxwing flocks is well known ( similar to starlings). Have a look in slow motion:

Rowans and thrushes

Large flocks of noisy (in the positive sense) thrushes in the garden this morning. A flock of a 100 or so fieldfares (gråtrost) and a few redwings (rødvingetrost), song heard again today, were feeding on rowan berries, most of the birds lifting at the end of this video. At the same time there was visible migration happening. I counted a continuous stream of some 200 birds in 10 minutes moving westwards! A few waxwings (sidensvans) have also arrived.  Yes, rowans are a must have in the garden although I don’t use them much myself.

RIP Bombycilla garrulus

It doesn’t happen very often but the last few days at least 3 waxwings (sidensvans) flew into a window on the house, two of which recovered (have put something in the window to discourage them). Probably discoordinated after partying too hard on fermenting apples :(
I can only remember once finding a dead waxwing next to the house (and on occason there can be up to 1,000 of them in the garden).

Bombycilla garrulus and Coccothraustes coccothraustes

How DO they make up those scientific names? A small group of waxwings (sidensvans) in the garden with 4 hawfinches (kjernebiter) provided entertainment (distraction) this afternoon….waxwings are berry eaters (e.g. the flesh of rowans / rogn) and hawfinches eat hard tree and fruit seeds (also rowan, eating what the waxwings disgard!)

I try to “grow” as much food for birds as possible in my garden. This includes leaving some fruit, planting various species of rowan (Sorbus), not tidying the garden until late winter, so that, for example, seed of nettles and burdock is available for finches. I also don’t feed the birds with bought in sunflower seeds until it gets properly cold, until then there’s plenty of natural food available. There’s nowadays a large acreage put down to non-organic production of bird seed in other countries which is certainly detrimental to birdlife in those countries and there is evidence that providing bird seed during the breeding season can have a negative effect on some species! So, is feeding birds a good thing or just for our entertainment? A bit of both I think!

  1. Hawfinch and waxwings towards the end…taken from the living room /office!

2. Waxwing on apple. It was a bad rowan berry year and there are unusually few waxwings around (perhaps good news for an invasion further south, e.g., in the UK?). This is one of the apples I left for the birds…the video was taken from the living room!

St. Lucia Parrot Day

Today (13th December) is St. Lucia Parrot day and people are celebrating the world’s most beautiful parrot everywhere…even here in Malvik ;) – well, this is how I interpret this important feast day here….and the presence of this parrot in my indoor forest garden helps to brighten up the dark days of winter, together with the waxwings (aka arctic parrots, which are foraging in the garden as we speak!)….
When we visited the island in 1981, we hooked up with the local naturalist’s trust who gave a talk at the hotel about this bird and we were lucky enough to see one that had been found injured. This was just after Hurricane Allen had devastated the island and the population crashed to under 100 birds as reported in this video. It’s good to know that the population is now over 1,000 thanks to the conservation efforts for this wonderful endemic species found nowhere else than on this Caribbean island:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2yRs1283UA