Persistent cold brings birds from the far north to Western Europe

Due to the extreme temperatures in Northern Europe, birds are gradually migrating to Western Europe. "Temperatures are dropping to -40 degrees in some places," says Gerald Driessens of Natuurpunt to De Standaard.

"All the water is frozen. Ducks and geese have been coming down for a while, but now that the feeding grounds of larks, for example, are snowed under, they too have to leave", Driessens said.

It is difficult to predict exactly where the birds will settle

More redpolls, songbirds in the finch family, have already been spotted. "Another one we are expecting is the waxwing. They have already flown to England. When they run out of food, they usually come our way. However, it is difficult to predict exactly where the birds will settle," Driessens explained.

Common redpoll © IMAGO
Common redpoll © IMAGO

"It depends on how cold it stays in the far north and here. If we still have a hard winter here, they will have to move further south."

In Flanders, too, birds are facing freezing temperatures, making it harder to find food. "Birds are now looking for food closer to home," Natalie Sterckx of Natuurpunt said. "The message is to feed as much as possible so that the birds use as little energy as possible. Fresh water is also important.


Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus) adult bird feeding on a Hawthorn berry in a hedgerow, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom, Europe. © IMAGO

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