Unusually many Redwings come to the garden this winter. They have been up to 30 for the past few weeks. Apples and sunflower seeds are their favorite foods.
Redwings have a special place in the hearts of Icelanders. They signal the usually long awaited coming of spring. Huge flocks of them arrived here April 5 and 6 from their winter grounds in Britain and Western Europe. They were, however, not welcomed with spring weather, but with a full-blown blizzard, one of the worst this winter.
The weather was as bad as it can get, with snow blowing into huge banks, the shivering birds covered in snow and the house trembling from the storm. It is likely that some if them have not survived this harsh welcome.
This sunny morning, in the snow and frost, there are around 30 singing Redwings in the garden, quarrelling over the feed trays – the garden resounding with their song.
The Great Backyard Bird Count began in 1998. Participants need to observe and count the numbers of different kinds of birds in their garden for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, February 14-17. Participants can count from any location, anywhere in the world, for as long as they wish!
More information, and to register, see the website:
The Icelandic Backyard Bird Count is a similar event hosted by Fuglavernd in Iceland and is usually in the end of January.
Redwings in the thousands arrived in Iceland on April 1st and 2nd. The groups in our garden were obviously tired and famished after their flight from the British Isles. Up to 65 Redwings were counted here, feeding on apples and sunflower seeds.
We expect spring to greet our newcomers warmly but that is not the case now. The weather has been windy with frost and snow – not a warm welcome at all. The Redwings, however, do not seem troubled and are already singing their hearts out which is sure to signal the coming of warmer days.
Yesterday the seashore at Eyrarbakki was teeming with Redwings. These are the migrants that arrived on April 3 in the thousands from their winter grounds in the British Isles. They are spread over the South coast, staying near the seaside because of the cold weather. The temperatures this week are going down to minus 6 – 7°C in the night-time.
Some Redwings stay in Iceland for the winter but most migrate. Just on the shore at Eyrarbakki their numbers were estimated to be at least 500 – 700. The Redwing is one of the best loved migratory birds in Iceland and its arrival is awaited and welcomed because it signals the coming of the long awaited spring.
During the breeding time the Redwing mostly eats worms and insects. At other times of the year it is more into berries and seeds. Although the Redwing is considered one the Icelandic migrants, big groups of them stay for the winter.
The Redwing builds its nest in various locations and usually lays 4 to 6 eggs which hatch in about 10 to 14 days. The young leave the nest after about two weeks and depend on the parents for an additional two weeks. Then the female often lays eggs for the second time.
Here you can hear the beautiful song of the Redwing:
The birds do not go without at Christmas. Delicious red apples are on the menu on a cold and windy Christmas day, with temperatures around – 9° C.
The Redwings are migratory birds. Most of them have now moved into towns, feasting on berries along with their usual food, worms and larva. Some of them will endure the long Icelandic winter but others are now waiting for favourable winds for their departure to Britain, and the west coast of France and Spain.
The Redwing is very busy these days. Finding food for its young ones is hard work and takes up a lot of time. Worms and larva are on the menu every day.
This little chick had found a nice spot on our garden table yesterday morning. Two pairs of Redwings have made nests in our garden this spring so several chicks have been hopping around here lately.