Scroll down to see ‘what bird to look for now’

Bird Watching
january ISSUE

In the latest issue of Bird Watching:

  • See more birds than ever in 2019

  • Will you see a Waxwing this winter?

  • Ruth Miller dines at the vulture restaurant

  • Dominic Couzens on Rooks – the bad boys of the crow family

  • ID Challenge: Garden birds

  • Bird photography tutorial

  • Birding apps tested

All this and much, much more!

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What to look for, NOW!

every week we'll highlight what to look for when you're out birding.

This week it's: Waxwing

The beautiful Waxwing is a bird which breeds in northern Fenno-Scandia and northern Russia and winters further south and west. It is what is known as an ‘irruptive’ species, meaning that in some years, a large mass of the population spreads (or irrupts) further from the breeding grounds than usual. It is a generally a scarce winter visitor to the UK, especially to the east and north. But, especially in years of irruption, there may be many hundreds or many thousands of Waxwings spread across the country. This winter promised much, but is turning into a moderate Waxwing year, with birds reaching as far as the south coast come early January. Waxwings are Starling-sized, crested birds with short bills and a delightfully flexible, soft plumage allowing them to change from fluffy ball to slick in an instant. The main body colours are subtle browns and greys, with a black bib and eyestripe and white and yellow wing markings and yellow tail tip. The name comes from little spots of red on the wings which look like sealing wax. Waxwings are primarily berry eaters in the UK and are renowned for devouring berries in supermarket car parks (as well as in gardens and along roadsides). They make a gorgeous, bell-like tinkling call. Enjoy them while they are here.

Waxwing feeding on haws

Waxwing feeding on haws

Fluffed up Waxwings on a cold day

Fluffed up Waxwings on a cold day

A flock of Waxwings feeding on Rowan berries

A flock of Waxwings feeding on Rowan berries

Image by Alamy


message from the editor...

Welcome to Bird Watching, the UK’s best-selling bird magazine. Every issue is packed with ideas, tips, advice, news and reviews, including binoculars and scopes, for anyone with an interest in wild birds, whether they simply enjoy watching their garden birds, or prefer to travel the country and world in search of more unusual species. Our mission is to inspire you to enjoy the world of wildlife that starts right outside your back door. Find out more and sign up to our annual birding challenge #My200BirdYear here.
Matt Merritt