Bewick’s Swan is an increasingly rare winter visitor to Ireland, according to Birdwatch Ireland. This species, which migrates from Siberia, is red-listed in Ireland due to a severe decline in the number wintering here. The European wintering population has declined in several countries and consequently is regarded as Vulnerable.
The majority of the European population winters in Germany, the Netherlands and Britain, and one of the reasons that the species has declined in Ireland is that suitable feeding sites occur in these countries and this species no longer need to fly as far west as Ireland. Ecofact are currently undertaking a number of wintering bird surveys in the Irish midlands, and have recorded this species a number of times of the past few months. The picture below shows two Bewick’s at a site near Athlone this week. Their heads are dirty from feeding on this wet field. We counted a total of 5 at this site.
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