Aves, p�le ornithologique de Natagora

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Aves, 43/3 | 2006 | 129-156

  The Waxwings (Bombycilla garrulus) during the 2004-2005 invasion. Analysis of Belgian and Luxemburg data. Notes on behavior in Belgium and Europe.
Fouarge, J. & Vandevondele Ph.

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Article summary

As in many western European countries, in 2004-5, Belgium enjoyed a major invasion of Waxwings, the largest in its recorded history. Extremely large numbers, estimated to be more than 20,000, were observed during the return movement through Europe, in February, March, and April, although the numbers for the preceding three months were much smaller. Another novelty was that almost the entire country was visited, with only rare exceptions. The most frequent observations were of individual birds or of small groups, especially at the beginning. However, in the main period, the last three months, the mean number per group was 25-21 individuals, with the largest group being 400. The length of each visit was generally very short, often only one day. Longer visits allowed some interesting observations to be made: frequent variation in the number of birds present at a site, an excellent ability to find feeding locations, a tendency to chase insects as soon as the weather allowed it, vehicle traffic and house windows as the principal case of death,... Finally, several behaviour patterns connected to the preliminary phases of reproduction were described, both for first year birds and for adults, one of them for the first time.

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