In both the spring/summer of 2013 and 2014, heritage expert Tom Cuffe undertook a transect survey in the Terryland Forest Park as a scientific method to estimate the density of the Bird and Butterfly populations living in the locality.

This work was undertaken as part of a nationwide monitoring and conservation programme.

His field studies took place every Saturday afternoon for a number of months in certain locations within the Forest Park.

Tom used the opportunity to also monitor other forms of wildlife within this green zone including a broad range of insects.

Colm coille
The largest of the pigeon and dove family in Ireland.

Primarily grey in colour with distinctive white patches on its neck and wings as well as a pinkish breast. 

The woodpigeon's diet is mainly vegetable consisting of leaves, garden vegetables, young shoots, seedlings, nuts, fruits and berries. Hence it is often considered a pest by farmers. They will also eat larvae, ants, and small worms. 

It lays two white eggs in a stick nest which hatch after 17 to 19 days. 

Wood Pigeons seem to have a preference for trees near to roads and waterways.  

Sedge Warbler
Ceolaire cíbe

The sedge warbler is a regular spring and summer visitor to Irish wetlands (April to September).

It is about the same size as a robin and feeds mainly on insects and other invertebrates.

Brown colour, paler on the underparts with a black crown. 

Cearc uisce

The Moorhen is one of the most common and most widespread of Ireland's river birds. Nests near water, usually in emergent vegetation.
Omnivorous with a diet that includes insects, seeds, fruits, tadpoles and fish.
The adult has a red bill and fore crown, the bill is tipped yellow. Has a white line along the flanks and white sides to its under tail. The under tail is east to see as it carries its tail high. The upperparts are brownish and the underparts are blue-grey. Juveniles don't have any red in the bill and crown. 

Mallard Duck
Lacha Mallard The most widespread and one of the most common duck species in Ireland.
Resident throughout the year, joined by migrants from Iceland  and northern Europe

Males have green heads, yellow bills, white ring around the necks, grey underparts and black rump.

Females are brown in colour, but with blue speculum, dark stripe across the eye and whitish tail sides.

Mute Swan
Eala Ghlórach
The swan is one of the most attractive of all birds. Its size, colour, beauty and grace ensured that it featured prominently in Irish mythology. 

The Children of Lir is one of the most evocative of all Celtic tales, telling the story of the three children of Lir transformed into swans by a cruel stepmother with magical powers They remained so for 900 years, the last survivors of the ancient race of Tuatha de Danann, until the coming of Christianity when the evil spell was broken.
The Mute Swan is found in wetlands across Ireland. They are large white birds with an orange/red bill and large knob on the forehead which distinguishes them from the other two swan species resident in Ireland, namely the Whooper and Berwick.
Whilst there is no doubt that numbers of Mute Swans were introduced to Ireland by British colonists to make their ornamental gardens more attractive, nevertheless there is the strong possibility that a wild population already existed.
Their diet consists of primarily of water plants. They also graze on land and occasionally feed on small amphibians, snails and insects.

Corcrán coille
A member of the finch family, its name comes from its stocky build and bullish head and neck.

Males have a black cap, face, wings and tail, a white rump patch, a grey back and a reddish breast and belly.  The breast and belly of the female are more greyish brown.

Feeds mainly on the buds of native trees as well as seeds and berries.
It breeds across Ireland usually in hedgerows and deciduous woodland. 


Snag breac 
A member of the crow family, the large magpie with its shiny black and white plumage, long green tinted tail, its almost haughty pose, strutting walk and aggressive behaviour towards predators such as cats, makes it one of the most distinctive birds in Ireland.

The habitat of the Magpie traditionally was open or lightly wooded countryside where they can forage on the ground, nest and find protective cover.  They inhabit both decidious and coniferous woodland. In more recent times with the spread of urban settlements, they can be found in cities and towns. 

The Magpie is a very social bird, often observed in pairs,  in family groups and communal rooks.

Magpies are omnivorous with a wide range of food including insects, seeds, berries, small mammals, small birds, eggs, and nestlings. They have a reputation as scavengers  often seen early in the morning searching the roads for road kill and picking up scraps around housing estates and parks.

The Magpie’s domed shape nest can be found high in a tree. It is made of twigs and lined inside with wool etc. A new nest is built each year with both partners taking part in its construction.

Lasair choille
One of Ireland’s most familiar garden birds, this brightly coloured finch has a red face, black and white head band markings, yellow and black wings with a brown and whitish underside.

The goldfinch is a very sociable bird, often found in large colonies and possesses a lovely twittering birdsong.

Its nest, made of moss, hairs and feathers, is located high in hedgerows and trees.
The Goldfinch is an all-year resident bird with some additional birds arriving from the Continent in the winter.
Great Tit
Meantán mór
As it name implies, the Great Tit is the largest of the tit family.
It has a black coloured head with large white cheeks  and a black band running down the centre of a bright yellow breast. Green wings and a silvery blue tail give it an almost tropical look.

It is an insectivorous bird and also enjoys eating seeds and nuts.
The traditional habitat of a Great Tit is broad-leaved woodland but it can be found living in farmland, parks and gardens. It nests in the cavity of a tree or a wall.
The Great Tit song is a loud full tew, tew tew.

Blue Tit
Meantán gorm
The Blue tit has a bright blue crown and white cheeks with a dark blue eye stripe connecting the beak with the back of the head.

Its underside is yellow and the wings are blue. The bill, wings and tail are all short.
This insectivorous tit also enjoys eating seeds and fruits.
Though its traditional habitat is broad leaf woodland, this all year-round resident is now a resident of gardens enjoying the seeds of a feeder.
The Blue it builds its nest amongst ivy, in the hole of a tree, stump or walls. It is also one of the birds that takes full advantage of a nesting box in a garden.

Coal Tit  
Meantán dubh
The Coal Tit looks like a smaller, less colourful version of a Great Tit. 

It has a black cap, white cheeks, grey back, tail and wings. The bird's underside it off-white with a brownish tinge.

Its bill is small and pointed.

The Coal tit's natural habitat is coniferous woodland, but can be found in other habitats including gardens.

In winter, it forms flocks with other tits to travel through gardens and woodlands looking for food.

Smólach ceoil

A very common bird found throughout Ireland, the thrush has plain brown upperparts and a white underside, with  arrow-shaped black spots in lines down the breast and flanks.

The thrush can be seen bounding along the ground in search of worms. 

Males sit on a tree branch delivering song, which is loud and far-carrying. Usually occurs in ones and twos - never in flocks.

The thrush nests in trees, bushes, ivy and brambles. 

In its mud-lined shape nest, it lays four or five dark-spotted blue eggs.

Lower Redpoll

Widespread throughout Ireland, this tiny finch breeds in woodland, but also visits gardens. 

The Lower redpoll can be seen hanging upside down from twigs in birch and alder trees.
It has a short forked tail and brown upperparts being paler on the lowerparts. 

Adult males have a reddish forehead with a yellow bill. In summer, males have a reddish flush to the breast that juveniles and females don't possess.

Redpolls eat seeds particularly of birch and alder as well as plants such as willow herb and sorrel.

Ireland's second smallest bird, the wren is widespread across the country and found in a wide range of habitats including farmland, woodland and mountain. Its small rounded body and tiny cocked tail are distinctive. It upper body is reddish-brown and the lower part paler.
More often heard than seen, its call is very loud and shrill.
The wren's diet consists of insects and their larvae. The nest is a spherical ball of moss with a small entrance, located in dense vegetation such as ivy.
In pagan Celtic mythology, the bird was strongly associated with the Druids and it is thought that its Irish name (dreolín) comes from two words derives from two words, draoi (druid) and ean (bird).
However in the Christian period, the wren had negative connotations and was blamed in popular legend for betraying St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, to his enemies
by chattering away whilst he was hiding in the bushes. Thereafter, the wren, as with St. Stephen, was to be hunted down and killed on the saint's feast day. A wren tied to a pole would accompany local young men and boys in disguise as they went door to door on St. Stephen's Day (December 26th) or Lá an Dreoilín in Irish , singing and dancing in exchange for small gifts of food or money. These boys would often be dressed in straw and were known as Wren Boys or Mummers. 

Pocaire gaoithe
A small bird of prey and a member of the falcon family, the Kestrel is a year round resident common across Ireland. 
It nests in trees, cliffs and in buildings. The bird has wide variety of open habitats including coastal areas, moors, farmland, wetlands, roadsides and in urban parks.
It is a thrilling sight to watch the kestrel patiently hovering above a field before its swoops down to lift its prey.
In the Terryland Forest Park, its catch tends to be small mammals such as bank vole, pygmy shrew or field mouse which have been identified to be present in the park by Dr. Colin Lawton and his research team from NUI Galway.
Kestrels of both sexes have their brown back and inner upperwings which contrast with their dark upper outer wings. 

Hooded Crow
Caróg liath
Also referred to as the Grey Crow, it is a very common bird found across Ireland all year round. The Hooded Crow is very sociable and can be seen gathered in large groups.
The head, throat, breast, wings, tail are black whilst the rest of the body is grey or off-brown.
Omnivorous, opportunistic, it eats whatever is available and can be found hanging around outdoor restaurants!  Diet includes seeds, insects, carrion, young birds, shellfish and eggs. Because it can attack small lambs, it is often killed by farmers.
Highly intelligent, the Hooded Crow is known to drop shells from a great height to smash them open.
The bird has a variety of loud calls, including a harsh “kraa”, as well as a repeated knocking sound. The bulky stick nest is normally found in tall trees, but this bird can build its nests in a variety of other locations from pylons to cliffs.
They are closely related to the Carrion Crow and will interbreed with them. 

Irish Mythology
Like the Raven and the Carrion Crow, Hooded Crows are associated in Celtic legends with Morrigan, the Goddess of War and oftentimes as the Messenger of Death.
In the great Celtic epic Táin Bó Cúailnge, Cuchulainn, the greatest of Irish warriors, is followed everywhere by the Goddess Morrigan in her Raven or Crow form.  When he eventually dies from his battle wounds received during his defense of Ulster against the army of Queen Maeve of Connacht, “a crow comes and perches upon his shoulder".