World Migratory Bird Day 2023
The eagle eyed amongst you might have noticed that World Migratory Bird Day has already been celebrated this year, so why are we going on about it again?
Well in fact, it’s celebrated twice during the year. Once when we welcome our Spring migrant species who come to our shores to breed, and again when we wave them goodbye and swap them for Arctic visitors who settle here for the winter period.
This year, World Migratory Bird Day will focus on the importance of water. Sadly, our water systems are under threat from anthropogenic activity and as a result, is having a direct impact on populations and health of our migratory bird species.
We thought we would celebrate the day by raising awareness of some of the wonderful species who call the UK their winter home!
Pink Footed Geese
The first and possibly most iconic winter migrant species to mention is the Pink Footed Geese. Synonymous with the North Norfolk coast but also seen in other parts of the UK including Scotland, these glorious geese fill our Autumn skies with their V shaped formations and loud calls which echo across the marshes.
Around half a million Pink Footed Geese flock to the UK from the Arctic region to feast on crops such as potato and sugar beet.
As the name would suggest, Redwings are identified by red patches on the underside of each wing. Like the Pink Footed Geese, Redwings come from Arctic regions but this time, they come to fill up on hedgerow fruits like Hawthorne berries. They are partial to windfall apples for keep an eye out for them under your apple trees.
Whooper and Bewick Swan
It may surprise you to know that the Mute Swan that we are so used to seeing in local ponds and on royal memorabilia is not the only swan species to call the UK home. In fact, we welcome two other species during the winter months, the Whooper and Bewick swan.
Approximately 20,000 Whooper Swans arrive here from Iceland to once again feed on crops such as potatoes and can be found on farmlands and estuaries across Scotland, northern England, and East Anglia. Look for a triangular yellow wedge on the long bill.
Bewick swans migrate 2500 miles from Siberia and are the smallest and rarest of the swan family. Like the Whooper, they have yellow colouring on their predominantly black bill.
To hear all about an exciting project that focuses on migrating species, check out our latest episode of The Wildlife Community podcast, where presenter, Charlie Bingham, chatted to Axel and Ario Drioli, founders of Sounding Wild ( Sounding Wild - Nature Stories) about their immersive VR birding experience.