Redwing – a winter visitor that feasts on the garden berries

Every year we are delighted to see the Redwings (Turdus iliacus) arrive from Scandinavia. Part of the thrush family the Redwing has a striking white supercilium above the eye and a white submoustachial stripe. It is however the bold rusty red patch under the wings that allows you to identify these birds with confidence.

In our garden they tend to come for the berries. This year they seem to have started on the holly berries which they finished off well before Christmas. They are now working their way through the Pyracantha (pictured) but as yet they have not started on the Cotoneaster. In a week or so when all the Pyracantha have gone I suspect we will see them sitting in the tall cotoneaster at the end of the garden picking away at those berries as well.

These birds are rarely on their own and we typically see a small flock visiting together calling each other with a sharp ‘tseep’. Once our berries are finished they will wander off across the fields and hedgerows searching for other berries and worms.

According to the RSPB website Redwings migrate by night in loose flocks. In autumn, redwings gather along the Scandinavian coast at dusk before launching off on their single 500 mile flight across the North Sea to the UK.

Some redwings also come from Iceland to winter in Scotland and Ireland. Others come from Russia and Scandinavia to winter in southern England and further south in Europe.

Redwing call

Audio Credit Patrik Aberg Xeno-canto

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