Cotswold Greats


The Red­wing

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

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