The sight of a redwing in the garden is a sure sign of especially wintry weather.
At other times the UK’S smallest true thrush prefers to stay away from humans, feasting on berries and fruit within orchards and hedgerows and worms unearthed in fields, playing fields and parks, which they often visit in large flocks that will include starlings and fieldfares. When disturbed they fly into nearby trees to wait awhile before returning to resume feeding.
A crimson-orange patch on its flanks makes the redwing easy to tell apart from other members of the thrush family, along with a creamy strip above the eye.
Redwings, which measure around 21 cm and weigh just 50 to 70g, are winter visitors seeking relief from especially harsh climates and shortages of food, with more than eight million arriving in the UK between October and November and staying until March or April.
Birds seen in the Cotswolds generally come from Russia and Scandinavia and will have made an 800km flight across the North Sea. They travel at night, taking their chances with spells of rough weather and the possibility of crashing into the waves and drowning. A handful of breeding pairs live year round in Scotland.
Crickley Hill in snow