Birds of Ballycroy National Park
There has been a high number of bird species recorded in Ireland with over 450 species now on the Irish list but as an isolated island for over 7,500 years we have fewer breeding birds than our nearest neighbours. Many of these birds are migratory either wintering from Scandinavia or breeding summer migrants from Africa.
Ballycroy National Park provides a home for at least 80 different species of bird Although the predominant habitat is Atlantic blanket bog, there are also other special habitats that include grasslands, wet and dry heath, shingle shores, corrie lakes and numerous rivers and streams including the rivers Owenduff and Tarsaghaun.
The bird species of Ballycroy National Park include some common species such as skylarks, meadow pipits and dippers and rare species including sandpipers, woodcock, dunlin, ravens, and whooper swans. Birds of prey found in the park include kestrel, sparrowhawk, merlin, peregrine falcon and hen harrier. Red grouse are resident in the park and rely on a mix of different heights of heather for shelter and food. Greenland white-fronted geese are winter visitors from Greenland and are found within the park from October to April. The main winter population of Greenland white-fronted geese are found down in Wexford at the Wexford Wildfowl Reserve. Golden Plover a rare breeding bird that only breed in the northwest of Ireland with Ballycroy National Park being one of their breeding sites.
For visitors to the new visitor centre for Ballycroy National Park the Tochar Daithí Bán Trail offers a great opportunity to see and hear some of the birds associated with bog habitats as well as your typical garden birds.