Bramblings breed mainly in birch woods and conifer plantations in northern Eurasia, from Fenno-Scandia to Kamchatka, in particular near the limits of tree growth in high latitudes and high altitudes. All populations migrate in winter, to southern Sweden and beyond, to Britain and Ireland in the west, to Iberia and the north Mediterranean in the south and to Turkey and the Caucasus, Israel and north Africa in the southeast.
    In Britain their numbers in winter depend on the availablility of their preferred food, beechmast. In good beechmast years on the near continent, fewer Bramblings will come to Britain. In years when the beechmast crop has failed on the continent greater numbers will come to Britain, though if it has also been a poor year here for beechmast they will not stay. Totals in poor years can be no more than  1-2% of the numbers in the best years. When they do come they can be found virtually anywhere, with their greatest concentrations in northeast Scotland, the Scottish southern uplands, East Anglia and in a broad band from the Welsh Marches to the Isle of Wight. There have been a few rare records of their remaining to breed.
    The historical records of Bramblings in Wiltshire reflect the national pattern of good years and bad years. There have been periods when few or none were recorded for two or three years at a time. In other years in the 19th century flocks of thousands were reported. No flocks of that size were reported in the 20th century, though three-figure counts have been regularly reported - for example 35 such flocks during the period between 1974 and 2000. Birds of Wiltshire recorded Bramblings in 5% of tetrads surveyed in a structured survey over the winters of 1998-99 and 1999-2000. WTA2 recorded them in 33% of tetrads in a full county survey between 2007 and 2012. The difference between these percentages is likely to have been a result of the regular ups and downs referred to above rather than any fundamental change in population numbers.

The following references are used throughout these species accounts, in the abbreviated form given in quotation marks:
“1968-72 Breeding Atlas” – Sharrack, J.T.R. 1976:  The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
1981-84 Winter Atlas” – Lack, P.C. 1986:  The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
“1988-91 Breeding Atlas” – Gibbons, D.W., Reid, J.B. & Chapman, R.A. 1993: The New Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland 1988-91. T. & A. Poyser
“Birds of Wiltshire” – Ferguson-Lees, I.J. et al. 2007 : Birds of Wiltshire, published by the tetrad atlas group of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society after mapping fieldwork 1995-2000. Wiltshire Ornithological Society.
“Bird Atlas 2007-2011” – Balmer, D.E., Gillings, S., Caffrey, B.J., Swann, R.L., Downie, I.S. and Fuller, R.J. 2013: Bird Atlas 2007-2011: the Breeding and Wintering Birds of Britain and Ireland
“WTA2” – ("Wiltshire Tetrad Atlas 2 ") the present electronic publication, bringing together the Wiltshire data from “Birds of Wiltshire” and “Bird Atlas 2007-11”, together with data from further fieldwork carried out in 2011 and 2012.
"Hobby" - the annual bird report of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society.