A recent survey of the birds of Clane reveals that over 50 species can be seen in and around the town. These birds include the smallest bird in Europe – the Goldcrest; a soaring bird of prey that is successfully re-colonising Ireland – the Buzzard; and the beautiful Kingfisher, Goldfinch and Grey Wagtail (which has a yellow belly despite its name!). Some birds now considered in decline in Ireland can still be seen in the area, including the House Martin, Swift and the occasional Yellowhammer.
A checklist of these birds is provided below, and over time we will provide introductory information and photographs. For more comprehensive information there are several guide books available in the Clane library, and of course there are many resources on the internet too. Good web sites to start with are http://www.birdwatchireland.ie and http://www.rspb.org. The RSPB website hosts a useful bird identifier ‘wizard’ to help identify common garden and woodland birds, but note that it includes some British species that do not occur in Ireland.
There is a new and very active Kildare branch of Birdwatch Ireland – it’s website is http://www.birdwatchkildare.com. Check it out for local talks and outings – beginners and non-members welcome.
Many of the birds below can be attracted into gardens. Even formal gardens can incorporate bird-friendly measures such as a shallow water feature or berry-producing shrubs. Other ideas for attracting wildlife including leaving a pile of wood to rot somewhere in the garden, leaving a patch of lawn unmowed, and planting native trees, shrubs, plants and flowers that come from local stock.
Birds will be particularly attracted to bird feeders, especially in the winter. Many types of finches and tits are attracted to peanuts, wild bird seeds are popular with House Sparrows, Collared Doves and some finches, and apples will encourage Blackbirds and possibly a Blackcap. A local Sparrowhawk may even swoop in occasionally, but they are nothing to be concerned about. A much bigger threat to wild birds are cats: be careful to site bird feeders or baths away from places where cats can hide in ambush.
If you want to explore other wildlife in the area, the Liffeyside Park and Liffey Walk, Donadea Forest Park, Carton Estate, and Ballynafagh lake are all worth a visit. Species you may spot in those locations include Woodcock, Long-Eared Owl, Jay (a pink crow!) and Lapwing.
Keep an eye out for local Wild About Clane activities in Le Chéile, the community magazine, and if you have a suggestion for a wildlife initiative or would like to get involved yourself please contact anyone on the Community Council or in Clane Tidy Towns.
Birds of Clane Articles
Birds of Clane Checklist
Black Headed Gull