Ireland’s gardeners are stocking up on bird food and unpacking the binoculars again this week as the annual BirdWatch Ireland Garden Bird Survey gets under way this Monday.
The survey has been helping scientists track the fortunes of Ireland’s garden birds for many years, with over 1000 people taking part each year. As the Irish countryside changes, gardens are increasingly important havens for many bird species, and an important barometer measuring how birds are coping with stresses from climate change to habitat loss.
Members of the public keeping note of the highest number of each bird species visiting their garden every week, via the online survey form on www.birdwatchireland.ie. It’s a great way to get to know your garden birds better and enjoy watching their antics as they bustle back and forth.
It doesn’t matter if your garden is tiny or spreads across multiple acres, or how many bird feeders you have: everything helps provide useful information about how garden birds are doing. The organisers are particularly keen for gardens outside Dublin and Leinster to take part, especially those in rural areas, so they can find out what kind of birds prefer these gardens.
Pop into the garden centre here in Youghal this week to make sure you’ve got everything you need to encourage feathery visitors in to your back garden. Supply a variety of feeds and you’ll make them feel right at home!
- Peanuts attract a wide range of species, especially bluetits, and are fed from a mesh peanut feeder.
- Seeds are highly nutritious and very popular with tits and finches.
- Fat balls keep birds warm in the cold weather and provide lots of energy.
- Fruit such as apples and pears cut in half attract blackbirds and song thrushes.
- Mealworms are packed with protein and parent birds love to feed them to their chicks.