Tuesday 29 January 2013

The Wagtails are back

The recent chilly blast has brought the Pied Wagtails back to Heathrow’s Terminal 5. I guess that they have been warm enough in their usual roosts until now, but shelter on four sides has drawn them back despite the bird-proofed trees. The trees were specially selected to deter birds from roosting here. Their lack of horizontal branches do not offer a comfortable place to sit out the night, but when survival out ranks comfort, the birds arrive in numbers.

The Christmas lights have been left in the trees and continue to shine as we approach the end of January. I hope that the airport’s authorities are not hoping to make the birds even more uncomfortable than they already are. Mind you, each little bulb will give off a few Watts of heat and may be keeping the birds warm. Perhaps I do the authorities an injustice.

Now that they are here, it is possible that they will return each evening for the rest of the winter. This morning, the temperature had risen to a balmy 15 degrees, but the flock continued to seek the shelter offered by the terminal buildings. I suspect that the flock may be made up of a few smaller flocks that amalgamate to share the extra warmth.


  1. Oh wow, so many wagtails. They are another decoration for the trees. Great capture!

  2. A fantastic roost, I work nights at the FSU and keep meaning to pay a visit myself I am back tomorrow so will try then. Back in December I had a Barn Owl adjacent runway 27L.