Survey reveals waxwings rise

Filey residents witnessed an explosion in the number of recorded sightings of waxwings during a major bird survey.

Saturday, 8th April 2017, 4:00 pm
Updated Saturday, 8th April 2017, 10:23 pm
Waxwings and other migrant birds were spotted in Filey gardens.

These attractive migrant birds flock to UK gardens in winter once every 7-8 years when the berry crop fails in their native Scandinavia.

Close to half-a-million people, including 9,194 in Filey and the rest of North Yorkshire, joined in the world’s largest garden wildlife survey, counting more than eight million birds during the 38th RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch while witnessing some exciting and unusual visitors.

Along with waxwings, there was also a large jump in the number of visits from other migrant birds, such as redwings, fieldfares and bramblings, as the sub-zero temperatures on the continent forced them to go in search of milder conditions.

There was good news for robins – they climbed from number ten in 2016 to number nine this year in the rankings in North Yorkshire.

The survey also highlighted a downturn in the recorded sightings of blue tits (-8%) and great tits (-6%). Blackbirds were the county’s most widespread garden bird.

Dr Daniel Hayhow, RSPB conservation scientist, said: “Numbers of small bodied birds such as blue tits and great tits are susceptible to changes in weather throughout the year. Scientists believe that the prolonged wet weather during the 2016 breeding season led to fewer younger birds surviving than usual.”