Have birds taken over the world? Over the last few months it certainly appears that way. With so many people stuck indoors, we’re all paying more attention to the sights and sounds of life just outside our windows. It’s quite a magical thing to see and hear these birds going about their lives, full of the joys of spring.
Here’s our guide to some of the 20 most common birds you’ll spot out your window:
1. Black Bird (Turdus merula)
Irish name: Lon Dubh
This is one of the most common birds found in Irish gardens. The male is all black with a bright orange-yellow beak and eye ring. The females are brown in colour with speckles and can be mistaken for a song thrush.
2. Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
Irish name: Spideog
Probably one of Ireland’s best loved birds. The robin is instantly recognisable by its red-orange breast. Can be found all over the country and are often quite friendly creatures.
3. Great Tit (Parus major)
Irish name: Meantán mór
The biggest of the tits, around the same size of a robin. They have a jet-black head with white cheeks. The bellow is a bright yellow with a dark band down the middle. The stripe down the belly in males is a sign of status, the larger the stripe the more attractive it is the females.
4. Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus)
Irish name: Meantán gorm
These colourful fellows are common in most gardens and are active little acrobats! They have a blue cap with white cheeks and a dark blue band across the eyes. Their wings and tails are blue and they have a pale yellow belly. Always a treat to spot these little guys!
5. Coal Tit (Parus ater)
Irish name: Meantán dubh
These guys like wooded areas, so you won’t find them if there’s no trees around. They have a black crown with a long white patch on the nape, white cheeks and a small blueish-grey bill. Their underbelly is a pale greyish colour. Their wings are dark grey with two white wing bars. Mischievous little fellows, they like to hoard their food.
6. Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
Irish name: Rí rua
The male is more colourful with an orange-pink belly and face and a blue-grey crown. The females colour is more washed out and grey. Both males and females have long dark wings with white patches.
7. Magpie (Pica pica)
Irish name: Snag breac
One for sorrow, two for joy – the magpie is unmistakable and common all around the country. They have a white underbelly and black head, crest and tail that has a slight blue-green iridescent sheen. These creatures are highly intelligent and are the only bird known to pass the mirror test, along with very few other species.
8. Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)
Irish name: Lasair choille
Vibrant red face, yellow wing bars and black wings with white spots. They’ve a pale brown underbelly. Known to feed on thistles in recent years they’ve become a more common sight feasting on garden nut feeders.
9. House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Irish name: Gealbhan binne
The males have a little black bib, brown nape and grey crown. Females are plainer with less distinctive markings. Active and noisy little fellows keep on eye out for these speedy birds bobbing around the garden.
10. Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)
Irish name: Glasán darach
They have bright yellow-green feathers, with bright yellow patches on their grey coloured wings. The females have more dull and muted colours.
11. Dunnock (Prunella modularis)
Irish name: Dunnóg
These are around the same size as a Robin. They are dark brown with black streaking and grey on the underside. They have thin orange-brown legs and a deep red or brown eye. They mainly breed in hedges and you tend to see them creeping along the ground close to hedges.
12. Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Irish name: Dreoilín
The wren is one of our smallest birds. They are a rusty brown and paler underneath. They have a little white stripe over the eye and a thin down-curved beak. You are more likely to hear than see these fellows. They have a loud high energic song and they cock their tail as they sing. Their Latin name derives from cave dweller as they spend a lot of time in hedges and undergrowth.
13. Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
Irish name: Druid
A bit smaller than a blackbird they have a dark glossy plumage with an iridescent sheen and heavily spotted in white. These spots become less obvious in spring. These can often be seen as a nuisance in the garden but in recent years they’re numbers are in the decline. They are experts mimics and can imitate other bird calls.
14. Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos)
Irish name: Smólach Ceoil
Very recognisable around the size of a Blackbird. The upperparts are a plain brown and the underparts are pale buff with dark spots in lines. The males usually perch up high to sing out their song.
15. Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus)
Irish name: Colm Coille
As the name suggests they tend to nest in trees and bushes. They are a pale grey, with a pinkish-grey underbelly. Large white wing bands and white and green patches on the neck.
16. Jackdaw (Corvus monedula)
Irish name: Cág
The Jackdaw is the smallest of our crows. They are dark grey in colour with a silvery nape and a dark face with light blue eyes. Like all crows, they are very intelligent and social.
17. Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
Irish name: Fearán baicdhubh
Pale coloured body with a distinctive white edge and black bar at the base of the neck.
18. Siskin (Carduelis spinus)
Irish name: Píobaire
These are around the same size as a blue tit. They have a deeply forked tail and mostly yellow-green in colour and have black and yellow markings on the wings. The female’s colours are more muted than the male.
19. Rook (Corvus frugilegus)
Irish name: Rúcach
The most common crow species in Ireland. Bigger than a Jackdaw they are all black with a long grey, slightly curved beak.
20. Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix)
Irish name: Feannóg
Same size as a Rook. As the name suggests it has a black ‘hood’ covering its head with a pale belly and dark coloured wings.
Tips to attract and look after birds in your garden.
Putting out their favourite food is a sure fire way to attract birds. Different types of feed will attract differnet birds, try a mix of seeds, nuts or suet balls .
Make sure you place feeders are placed up so feeding birds are safe from predators like local cats! Wash and move around feeders regularly and clean and put out fresh water daily.
Curious about Seabirds? This is our Seabird Identification Guide
Intrigued by seashells? Check out our Shell Identification Guide
Fascinated by Jellyfish? Check out our Jellyfish Identification Guide