Winter Warriors

I was at home in Ireland for the last week and went to Galway, Mayo and Cork. What amazed me was the number of songbirds. Perhaps it´s the time of year, since I wouldn´t normally be home at this time, but the number of songbirds was astonishing. Considering the winter we had, as cold as -17C, I was worried that many might not have survived through it all. Obviously the people of Ireland are kinder to birds than I thought, and the little fellas are tougher than I though. Now though they are devouring insects and caterpillars, filling their beaks and bringing them back to the young in the nests.

The trees and bushes were full of Willow Warblers, Great, Blue and Coal Tits, Wrens seemed to be everywhere and I even saw the first bullfinches I´ve seen in about 20 years when they used to be common visitors to our bird feeders at home in Cork. As for the wrens, I had one land on my head as I acted as a “body” in a search exercise for the Irish Search Dogs which my sister has become involved with. My aunts garden in Galway had Chaffinches, Robins, Greenfinches, Goldfinches, and all the tits since she keeps her feeders stocked all year. We had a most pleasant lunch watching them all. Then to our complete surprise what I think was a merlin came swooping out of nowhere, trying to cash in on the activity for a bit of a songbird snack, but left empty handed.

Still though, nobody wants a repeat of last winter, least of all the wee feathered chappies I´m sure.

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