Wagging Wonders
Lancashire Life|December 2019
Wagtails are one of our most colourful species of bird and are a common sight if you wander out into the countryside, but Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Alan Wright finds them in unexpected places too
Alan Wright

One of my favourite places in winter is outside Next at Robin Park in Wigan. Here, in a tree you will find up to 500 pied wagtails. Until I discovered this flock, warming itself on the neon lights of the clothing store, I had only seen pairs or single pied wagtails walking jauntily along the ground, tails wagging (as per their name) or flying in swoops, up and down through the air.

These gorgeous birds are a mixture of black and white. In summer, males have a white forehead, cheeks and belly with a black mantle, head, throat and breast and a grey back. But, now in the colder months, they get darker and their throat feathers turn white. Females tend to be darker in colour.

Pied wagtails eat insects, but will feed on seeds and scavenge through rubbish in winter. They flock together at warm roost sites like reedbeds and sewage works or trees and bushes in city and town centres, as at the shopping centre.

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