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Waxwing invasion of Ireland continues

The influx of waxwings continues, with reports of these striking birds coming in from all over the country.

I finally managed to hook up with a small flock in Clonakilty, County Cork over the weekend… and what a lovely lot they were too. Here are a few photographs.

The waxwing irruption seems to have been prompted by a combination of a good breeding year (boosting waxwing numbers) and failure of the berry crop in the birds’ native Scandinavia. With food scarce large numbers of waxwings started arriving in the UK uncharacteristically early in the winter.

With relatively poor berry crops in many parts of the UK too, a lot of these birds were forced to keep moving,  and lots of them are arriving here in Ireland.

There are waxwings turning up all over the place… from Malin Head to Mizen Head (well, almost), so whenever you spot a berry-laden cotoneaster bush or rowan tree keep your eyes peeled. And don’t forget, if you get some snaps share them with us over on the Ireland’s Wildlife page on Facebook and on the Ireland’s Wildlife Flickr Group.


  • Laurence McDonald

    30/03/17 flock of waxwings in Dundalk .Co Louth

  • Thanks… with winter approaching I’ll keep looking out. Are they only to the two berry types you name above or will they go for rose hips and blackthorn berries as well?

  • Did they disappear again in the summer? Are they known to migrate? Is your resident flock now naturalised? `

    • Avatar photo

      Yes AJ — they left again early in the new year, presumably to head back home to Scandinavia for this year’s breeding season. One or two usually turn up around the country most winters, but a big irruption, like the one that happened last winter, normally only happens about once every eight to ten years.

      It’s well worth looking out for waxwings on berry laden trees and bushes over the winter though… such striking birds.

  • Art Griffin

    Spotted @12 waxwings eating the small apples on the apple in our back garden today. We live just outside Carlow town. Beautiful sight!

  • Just seen two Waxwings in Loughrea area co Galway! we have been scanning books to check what they were. A very unusual site. In the excitement I was to late to take a photo. They were eating berries and causing uproar in our resident sparrow, tits ect!

  • Nice shots!

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