Western Morning News (Saturday)



THE waxwing is one of our more eccentric looking birds, sometimes described as a bit of a punk of the avian world, with its Mohican crest of head feathering.

Even stranger are the glossy tips of the exposed shafts of their inner flight feathers – wing adornments that resemble blobs of red sealing wax and give the species its name.

They are peachy brown birds, shaped a bit like plump starlings, and have a black face mask and bib and yellow fringes on the wings and tail.

Waxwings come to the UK in the winter from Scandinavi­a and Siberia and feed in groups on berries, being quite easy to approach – even flocking to ornamental berry-bearing shrubs in supermarke­t car parks. However, their arrival is sporadic, with plenty some years and hardly any the next (as has been the case this year).

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