Guests from the north: Which birds fly to Moscow for the winter

November 6
Parks and pedestrian areas

With the onset of cold autumn weather, many migratory birds leave Moscow for warm countries, only to be replaced by birds from the northern latitudes. By the beginning of winter, common redpolls, great grey shrikes, rough-legged buzzards, snow buntings and red crossbills are expected to arrive. Ural owls and waxwings are due to fly to Moscow in January, said a Mospriroda spokesperson.

Birds fly to Moscow from the tundra (snow buntings), forest-tundra (common redpolls) and taiga (waxwings and red crossbills). They change their place of residence when the natural food supply in their habitual territories runs out. Travel dates may vary depending on the weather and the amount of food.

Rare guests

In recent years, Ural owls have been spotted quite often in winter in Moscow. Most likely, they are attracted by the large number of mouse-like rodents in the natural areas of the capital, ornithologists say.

Long-tailed ducks, small polar diving ducks, fly to Moscow much more seldom. In non-freezing ponds, you can find glaucous gulls – one of the largest gulls – and another member of the duck family – red-breasted mergansers. Waxwings are also rare guests in Moscow.

By the way, bullfinches often do not fly away from Moscow in summer. In winter, they simply move closer to cities, so they are seen more frequently in cold weather. Some bullfinches come here from more northern regions.

To feed or not to feed?

For many Muscovites, feeding birds in winter is already a tradition. However, experts from Mospriroda remind readers that most wintering birds easily find food themselves, largely thanks to humans. People should not feed birds without a strong need.

Feeding weakens the natural instincts of wild birds and makes them dependent on humans. They lose the habit of looking for food on their own. Birds may completely abandon natural food or begin to eat less of it. In the wild, their food is more balanced and nutritious than the food that humans usually give them. Excessive consumption of such feed badly affects the health of birds.

People should only feed birds if there is cold weather, permanent snow cover or ice cover after a temperature drop.


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