Waterbirds and the cold weather

In these days of global warming, winters are generally becoming milder, and birds are reacting to warmer conditions by changing their migratory movements. One well-known Gloucestershire example is the reduction in numbers of Bewick’s Swans and White-fronted Geese that winter on the Severn estuary around Slimbridge; in recent winters they have stayed back on the European mainland rather than flying the extra miles to western England. However, the weather can sometimes throw up unexpected events like the cold spell in mid-December 2022 (the only one in the whole of the year, though there was another in mid-January 2023, still to be assessed), which may surprise the birds and cause them to adopt different behaviours. The note that follows attempts to investigate what actually happened in the December 2022 cold snap.

Read the full article by Mike Smart.

Skip to content