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Wildlife Garden Blog : Garden in February

Wildlife Garden Blog : Winter migrant Redwing.

This attractive, colourful bird (a winter migrant native to Europe an Asia) can be seen in Britain from around September all the way through to March/April. There are 13 breeding pairs in Scotland which stay all year.

It is a thrush. With its speckled chest and similar size, it might be mistaken for a song thrush, but it has distinguishing features that help identify this bird fairly easily; it has a bold cream stripe above its eye and red feathers beneath its wings and on its flank - quite eye-catching! 

The redwings generally fly in flocks and, being social birds, will even move with other thrushes, especially blackbirds.

A few years ago, redwings (and fieldfares) were often seen in the garden over winter - they enjoyed the haws from the hawthorn in the garden but they particularly liked the bright red/orange berries from a nearby cotoneaster tree.

The local British countryside, no doubt, provides them with a good supply of food in the later months of the year, but when the weather becomes too harsh with snow or frost preventing birds from foraging naturally, many countryside birds start to visit the nearby gardens for more berries and earthworms, along with anything else they can find around bird tables. Redwings enjoy fruit, especially apples!

Wildlife Garden Blog : Wildlife Garden in February : Redwing Winter Migrant .
Wildlife Garden Blog : Wildlife Garden in February : Redwing Winter Migrant .

A few weeks ago, this little thrush visited the garden. It visited a couple of times but with no sign of a flock nearby.

Then one day the mystery was cleared - although this one did not appear to be part of a flock, it did have a companion! They spent a while in the garden on a cold but bright day - splashing around in a bird bath and fanning their wings in the winter sun, whilst perching on the stems of an overgrown forsythia.

The delightful redwings will possibly visit the garden a few more times before they return home in the next month or so - most likely they will have joined back up to be  part of a flock.

But they will be back again, next year, when they will come back to Britain and, traditionally, mark the start of Autumn.

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