Waxwings set to invade gardens this winter


PEOPLE have been asked to be on the look out for Russian punks invading their gardens this winter.

However, if you do come across them, don’t call the police - because they’re only after the berries on the trees.

The garden invaders are waxwings - colourful birds with ‘punky’ crests and black masks.

They have flown all the way from Russia and Scandinavia - and this year there could be more of them about than normal.

A flock of around 20 was seen in Milngavie Precinct on Friday (November 16) and many more could be on the way.

Waxwings are annual winter visitors to the UK - but their numbers vary from year to year.

In some years, harldy any birds are seen - but at other times (called ‘invasion years’) thousands of them stream in, flocking to gardens and even busy town centres where they gorge on berries.

Experts believe the invasions are caused by the combination of a good breeding season and the failure of the birds’ food sources, forcing them to forage further.

The last big invasion year was 2010, when Milngavie and Bearsden Herald readers reported them in their gardens widely across the area.

Few birds were recorded in the west of Scotland last year, but numbers are expected to go up this winter.

More than 2,000 waxwings are estimated to have arrived in Scotland already this month, landing in the north east and spreading south and west.