Around 450 different bird species have been recorded on the island of Ireland, and although a lot of them are migratory and rare, now is the best chance to catch a glimpse of them as they return north to build nests and prepare for the breeding season.Esri Ireland, a market leader in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), has created a digital map highlighting the flight … [Read more...] about World Migratory Bird Day — ESRI Mapping Migration
During the winter short days and long nights limit the time birds have to forage, while at the same time natural food becomes more scarce. Our garden birds have increasingly come to depend on the food we provide as an essential supplement to what they can find for themselves at this challenging time of year.According to bird conservation … [Read more...] about 9 top tips for feeding your garden birds
I've never really been a fan of photo field guides. In the past, I've always gravitated towards the more nuanced interpretation of a skilled illustrator to highlight key features, to help me identify birds/animals/plants in the field. While that still largely holds true, photo-guides have come on in leaps and bounds since I first encountered them, and for many wildlife … [Read more...] about Europe’s Birds, An Identification Guide (Book Review)
Spring migration is an exciting time of year for birding in Ireland.During this relatively brief window from early April until the end of May birds are on the move. There's a changing of the guard as our winter visitors, like waders, ducks, winter thrushes and the occasional exotic visitor like the bohemian waxwing, depart for their breeding grounds further north, and we … [Read more...] about Making the most of Spring Migration
For the last few days, I have been watching a beautiful male blackbird in the garden. He arrives around the same time every day, flying up from the wooded valley that runs away from my house.I am not sure if my garden forms part of his territory or he is just visiting for a quick meal. We think our green spaces belong to us but at this time of the year birds and other … [Read more...] about Going wild at home: The Blackbird.
In this guest post, contributor Charlotte Klassa takes a closer look at many people's favourite Irish seabird, the colourful and charismatic Puffin.The Atlantic Puffin is a strange bird. It looks like a penguin and a toucan rolled into one. This is the tell-tale sign of the auk family of birds: that butler-like dignity and tail-coat. People can concentrate on this plump … [Read more...] about Puffins of Ireland
Watching your local wildlife, even the familiar characters that surround you every day, is a rewarding and worthwhile experience. But it's always exciting when something a little out of the ordinary shows up.That happened here on the West Cork coast a few days ago, when news broke that a local birder had found an adult Rose-coloured Starling (Pastor roseus) near Galley … [Read more...] about Rose coloured starling on holiday in West Cork
In this, the final feature in our four-part series on beginning birdwatching, we take a look at some ways you can take your budding birding hobby to the next level.Birding is an exciting and diverse hobby that has something for everybody. One of the real beauties of catching the bird watching bug is that it's a pastime that can grow with you to offer a … [Read more...] about Birding for Beginners: The Next Steps
In this feature, the third in our four-part series on beginning birdwatching, we take a look at some of the equipment owned by birders, and how choosing the right equipment will help you to develop your bird watching skills.While it's true that all you need to start your bird watching adventure is your eyes, your ears and bucket loads of enthusiasm, as with any … [Read more...] about Birding for Beginners: bird watching equipment
In this feature, the second in our four-part series on beginning birdwatching, we take a look at your garden birds, your local patch, and how getting to know them better can help you improve as a birder.It's tempting when you're just getting started with bird watching to head immediately for local birding hotspots, and there's nothing wrong with that. Going where the … [Read more...] about Birding for Beginners: getting to know your local birds
Bird watching or birding is a fascinating pastime enjoyed by vast numbers of people around the world. It's a hobby that's growing in popularity here in Ireland as more people discover the joy that watching birds can bring. From following the antics of common birds at our garden feeders, to appreciating the birds of the various habitats that criss-cross this island, to … [Read more...] about Birding for Beginners: why watch birds?
We've just heard from our Official Garden Wildlife Partner CJ Wildlife that they're offering 30% off their premium whole peanuts and 10% off all of their peanut feeders until the end of March.Peanuts are an excellent energy-packed source of nutrition for birds. With nesting season looming, adult birds need to pack in as much nourishment as possible, as efficiently as … [Read more...] about Peanuts for peanuts — 30% off — order yours now!
Birds have always held a special draw for me.It was a a fascination with birds that first kindled my interest in wildlife as a youngster. I guess you could say that they were my first wildlife love, and while I'm interested in all sorts of wildlife today, birds will always hold a special significance. I suspect many wildlife enthusiasts have a similar story to tell.I'm … [Read more...] about Book Review: Ireland’s Birds; Myths, Legends and Folklore
The hooded crow, grey crow or “hoodie” as it's sometimes called, is almost identical to the closely related carrion crow (Corvus corone) except for its distinctive grey and black plumage. The two birds are so similar in fact that until recently they were considered to be different races of the same species, but now hooded crows have been formally acknowledged as a species in … [Read more...] about Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix)
Have you ever struggled to tell your bar-tailed from your black-tailed godwit? How about differentiating your dabbling ducks, or getting to grips with gulls and grebes?No matter how experienced a bird watcher you are, there are always species that will prove tricky, and there will be times (sometimes lots of them) when you're not quite sure what species you're looking at. … [Read more...] about Book Review: The Helm Guide to Bird Identification
A social media storm is brewing surrounding an ill-informed and disturbingly inaccurate radio interview about birds conducted on the Pat Kenny Show on national Irish radio station Newstalk FM yesterday (Wed 14 January).On the show, host Pat Kenny (pictured left) introduced Biochemistry Professor, Luke O'Niell (yes, you read that right -- a professor of biochemistry), about … [Read more...] about Raptors in the firing line on national radio show
They say familiarity breeds contempt... and, in the case of the chaffinch that's probably true. The male chaffinch in its full breeding regalia is one of our most colourful and striking birds. If it wasn't for the fact that we see them so often we'd marvel at these colourful little finches.The chaffinch is found all over Ireland in woodlands, parks, gardens, fields, scrub … [Read more...] about Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
Regular IW contributor Albert Nolan reflects on how a bit of winter digging benefits the bird life in his garden. It was a day when you would have fought to have a shovel in your hand as the icy wind slipped easily through layers of clothes. I was finishing off a new bed that I had started a few weeks ago and for once the frosty weather had been a great help in … [Read more...] about Digging, for the birds!
Pros: Quality finish and materials. Robust construction. Easy and convenient to dismantle and clean (no tools required). Innovative "feeding rings". Ventilation system keeps food fresh.Cons: None so far.Rating: Highly RecommendedPrice: from €21.95 for the 3-port feeder to €31.95 for the 7-port feederAn excellent all-round seed feeder that's built to last from … [Read more...] about Gear Review: CJ Wildlife Apollo “Easy Clean” Seed Feeder
There are no two ways about it, a lot of our wildlife is incredibly tricky to see.You can get lucky, of course. Occasionally birds, and even mammals, lizards or amphibians, will appear out of nowhere, seemingly oblivious to your presence as you marvel them in close proximity. These are, by and large, the exception rather than the rule. Most of the the time wildlife watching … [Read more...] about Book Review: Tracks and Signs of the Animals and Birds of Britain and Europe
Under the banner of Operation Godwit an international team of scientists has been studying the Icelandic black-tailed godwit since the 1990s. Unique combinations of colour rings placed on the birds' legs on their breeding grounds in Iceland and on their wintering grounds in Western Europe allow individual birds to be identified, and mean that when birdwatchers around Europe … [Read more...] about Cork school children contribute to international godwit study
Thanks to our friends over at CJ Wildlife (Ireland's Wildlife's Official Bird Food Partner) we have a fabulous prize to give away to one lucky winner at the end of the week.Up for grabs are:A 10kg bag of CJ Wildlife's fabulous "Hi Energy No Mess" seed mix A Medium Defender Metal Seed Feeder A Festive Suet SnowmanTo enter all you have to do is fill in your … [Read more...] about Christmas Competition: bird food, feeder and a festive treat
This post is part of the Crossley ID Guide Britain & Ireland Blog Tour -- yesterday the tour was over at Mark Avery's blog here -- tomorrow it moves on to BirdWords... the official site of Dominic Couzens... who's one of the book's authors. You'll find the full tour schedule here.NB. I'll be posting a full review of the guide to the book review section of the site in … [Read more...] about The Birdwatch Ireland Garden Bird Survey: how you can help monitor Ireland’s garden birds
I'm delighted to be taking part in the upcoming "Blog Tour" to celebrate the launch of the brand new bird field guide the Crossley ID Guide Britain & Ireland. I'll be reviewing a copy of the guide in the Book Review section of the site in due course... but the blog tour is something a bit different.Basically the publisher, Princeton University Press, has teamed up with … [Read more...] about All aboard for the Crossley ID Guide Britain and Ireland Blog Tour
For many people a desire to identify the birds they see visiting their garden, or when they're out and about, is the first step to an enduring fascination with nature and wildlife. It was birds that infected me with the nature bug way back when, and I still remember my first bird field guide... a small hardback copy of "The Observer's Book of Birds" that I got as a birthday … [Read more...] about Book Review: The Birds of Ireland, A Field Guide