For me, Pied Wagtails have always seemed to be an urban bird, or at least one associated to humans. Like several other species they are a bird as often seen in a carpark as an open field. They are predominantly insectivores, and are seen darting about chasing any little insect they fancy they can catch. They have a surprising turn of both speed and agility.
Intriguingly, the Pied Wagtail is not a distinct species, rather it is a sub-species of the White Wagtail. In the UK both are now present, and interbreed, causing some degree of confusion. It gets worse if you travel though, as these are just two of what may be as many as eleven subspecies spread through Europe and Asia.
More recently, thanks to BBC Autumnwatch, the Pied Wagtail has become famous for the winter roosts in towns and cities that may be home to hundreds of individuals. My own blog posts on the subject have been some of the most popular I’ve written here, and every winter you can be sure of another run of hits as York residents search for “What are all those birds in the trees in Parliament Street?” – Long may it continue.
They don’t just come into the trees individually though. They gradually group up in the skies and on the rooftops around the city, before moving in increasingly large groups to the roost site.