Category Archives: Birds

‘Spring Alive’ website – encouraging children’s interest in nature and migratory birds

What a great website!

Spring Alive is an international project to encourage children’s interest in nature and the conservation of migratory birds and to get them to take action for birds and other wildlife…’
There are games and colouring activities on the website too. Click HERE to see.

Lavandera blanca (Motacilla alba) Pedro Luna Guillen via Compfight

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Third Class, Room 15 learned about birds.

Eric Dempsey came to talk to us about birds. We learned a lot. He taught us about swallows and other birds.

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We learned that swallows can find their way all the way from Ireland to North Africa with a brain the size of a pea!

You can read more about swallows and other birds on the Bird Watch Ireland website.

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Green Schools: Biodiversity: Birds that became extinct in Ireland.

These are birds that died out in Ireland.

White-tailed or sea eagle

The National Parks and Wildlife Service are trying to reintroduce the sea eagle.
White-tailed Eagle
Photo Credit: Yathin via Compfight

Golden Eagle

These have been brought back to Ireland recently.

Photo Credit: Chad Miller via Compfight

Capercaillie or Wood Grouse
Capercallie
Photo Credit: Alastair Rae via Compfight

The Great Spotted Woodpecker
Greater Spotted Woodpecker
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Sergei Golyshev via Compfight

Corn Bunting
Corn Bunting
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Sergey Yeliseev via Compfight

What a pity they died out. We would love to see them in real life.

Why do you think they became extinct in Ireland?

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Our Habitat Map 2013

On Wednesday 4th December, the Green Team ventured out into the yard armed with pencils and a map of the school grounds to make our Habitat Map.

The weather was sunny but cold (approx 6 degrees C).

We made a Habitat Map when we first started our Green theme on Biodiversity in Novemeber 2012 so our aim was to indicate on our new map all the hard work we have done to improve the Biodiversity around the school. For example, we noted all the new bird feeders, bird boxes, insect homes, leaf  and log piles we set up. We also listed the new raised beds with our vegetable, wildflower and scented flower patches. We also needed to update our map to show the changes to the school grounds because of the building work e.g. moving the bins, relocate the bird feeding station, moving the log pile, etc.

Stay tuned for our new map which will be displayed on the Green schools noticeboard.

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Visit from Ireland’s leading Bird expert

 

An owl's wing

An owl’s wing

A Swan's feather

A Swan’s feather

A Swallow's nest

A Swallow’s nest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eric Dempsey, one of Ireland’s leading bird experts visited the school on 2nd December. He talked to 2nd, 3rd and 5th class about birds and biodiversity. We learnt all about what makes a bird a bird, their feathers and different facts about different birds.

Here are a few interesting things we learnt:

Swallows migrate to Africa in the Autumn. They travel 10,000km over the ocean and Sahara desert to get to their destination. In Springtime, they fly back to Greystones to the exact nest they were born in.

Swifts fly from Greystones to Africa in 3 weeks. These amazing birds can eat, sleep and drink while they are flying. They are the fastest birds in the world and can catch raindrops. Their numbers are in decline because roofs now have plastic fascia boards rather than wooden ones and so they find it harder to make their nests.

Owls are nocturnal which means they are active at night. They feed on mice and have to fly very quietly to be able to catch their prey. Eric demonstrated that when an owl flaps its wings there is no sound at all.

Trees provide shelter, food and homes for birds and insects. Eric explained how everything in nature is interlinked. If you lose the tree you lose the birds habitat, the insects habitat,the shelter it provided for the rabbits and foxes, the berries that fed the birds, the flowers that gave the bees nectar, the mushrooms that grew on the tree, etc, etc. This is the web of life and this ties in with our own biodiversity code ‘ don’t let species go extinct, in this world we are all linked.

To find out more about Eric go to www.birdsireland.com

 

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Celebrating ‘Less Waste’ Day – the Irish story.

We had great fun celebrating our ‘less waste’ day. Reducing waste has been an ongoing theme in Saint Brigid’s for the last number of years.

We covered the following topics on what we do in the school to reduce waste:

  1. Green lunches (reusable lunch boxes and drinks bottles).
  2. Recycle Michael and Green Eileen.
  3. Green bins – we recycle paper, cardboard, plastic, stamps, batteries and mobile phones.
  4. We discussed how the library helps us to recycle books because we use a rental scheme. Students can also donate old or used books to the library.
  5. We recycle uniforms as older brothers and sisters pass them down to their younger siblings. We also have a second hand uniform sale at the end of the year.
  6. Our ‘lost & found’ bin is sent to the charity shop to be recycled if no one claims the clothes after a certain amount of time.
  7. We have Litter wardens and Recycle wardens to remind everyone to reduce, reuse and recycle.
  8. The school sends texts and emails to parents rather than sending out letters. Thus reducing the amount of paper we use.
  9. The office and teachers always try to use both sides of the paper when they need to print work out to cut down on the amount of paper used.
  10. Our Green schools blog informs all staff, students and parents of our green work without having to print out newsletters. Not only does this save paper but it means less photocopying.
  11. We talked about how to make things out of recycled materials. Emma made a robot from cardboard boxes. We made recycled bird feeders and insect homes from cartons and plastic bottles. Zac and his Dad made an insect home from an old press.
  12. The school is having a ‘Recycled Christmas Decorations’ competition in December.
  13. We also discussed how much wrapping paper is thrown away every year so we thought wrapping up a shoe box and reusing it every year would be a good idea.
  14. We are having a ‘Bikes for Africa’ Day where we will recycle our old and unused bikes and send them to children in Africa.
  15. We discussed how litter can affect wildlife and why we should be careful when disposing of waste.
  16. Our local pharmacist gave a talk to the senior classes on medication and how to dispose of it properly. He told us that medicines can get into the environment and affect the wildlife.
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How the building work at our school has affected the Biodiversity around us.

 

There is a new species that has taken up residence in our school grounds. Has anyone spotted them?? They wear hard hats and high visibility jackets and come and go in big trucks and lorries.

Yes the builders are here!

We are very lucky in St. Brigid’s to have the builders in to build us four new classrooms but how has this work affected the biodiversity in our school grounds?

The Green schools committee thought of the following:

  • Noise may have scared away some species.
  • Dust can affect animal and plants.
  • Habitats have been disturbed or removed.
  • Our Bird feeding station had to be moved.
  • Our log pile had to be relocated.
  • Plants, shrubs and trees were removed thus removing species and habitats.
  • Flowers which attracted insects have been removed.
  • Less space and even less green area.
  • Less access.
  • Our bicycle racks have been temporarily removed.
  • Our water butt has temporarily put into storage.

 

We all agree that the building work has caused big changes but are there any positives??

  • More classrooms and better classrooms.
  • Better insulation so less energy spent on heating.
  • Brighter rooms so less energy spent on electricity.
  • A bigger and better storage area for our bikes which means more students can cycle or scoot to school.

Can you think of any ways the building work has affected the school’s environment? 

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Our New Green School Wardens!

 

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Our new Wardens look after the following areas in our school:

  • Compost – Adam and Nadine check that the compost bins contain no litter and empty the class compost bins into the big compost.
  • Litter  – Zac and Ed help ensure that the school grounds are free from litter and show students where to put their waste.
  • Water – Sive and Jack remind all the classes to turn off the taps and not to waste water.
  • Energy – Erin-Jade and Julia’s job is to get everyone to turn off lights or electrical equipment when they are finished with them.
  • Travel – walk or cycle to school every day which is why they are our travel wardens.
  • Garden -Rita, Keelin, Rory and Jack are our green fingered wardens. They look after the garden, pulling up weeds and watering it.
  • BirdsHannah, Aobha and Heather make sure the bird feeders are full and that the bird tables are clear of stones.
  • Recycling – Alex and Daire remind everyone to recycle plastic, paper and cans.
  • Insects – Emma and Abi check the Insect homes and let us know what they find.
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Hen Harriers in Ireland

Check out this blog on Hen Harriers in Ireland at http://henharrierireland.blogspot.ie

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The Hen Harrier (Croman na gCearc) is one of Ireland’s most spectacular yet rarest bird of prey. They are famous for ‘Sky Dancing’ and passing food to each other in the air!

This blog will keep you updated on the work on Hen Harriers in Ireland.

 

 

 

 

 

These Hen Harrier baby chicks are 100 days old!

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Visitors to the Playground – The Big Black Crows

 

The largest creatures that we see

in the playground are humans.

Dogs are not allowed in the school grounds,

but sometimes, they wait at the gate.

 

The largest wild creatures in the yard are 

the big, black crows that wait

to grab a sandwich that has been dropped.

 

They seem to know it is lunch time

and gather on the roofs 

looking down at us.

 

Crows in a Row
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Brad Smith via Compfight

These are the largest wild creatures

that we see in the yard.

 

by Fourth Class.

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Blackberries in the playground

Mmm Blackberries

‘Blackberries’, photo by Patrick

There are blackberries hanging over the school wall.

They are part of the biodiversity in the school.

Some caterpillars like to eat blackberry leaves.

Small birds like to eat blackberries.

Birds of prey like the buzzards at Charlesland

like a diet of smaller birds

This is a food chain.

You can read more that we learned about food chains here.

 

 

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Calling all Bird watchers!

 imageBirdWatch Ireland are having an outing to the coastal marshes at Kilcoole in search of Autumn migrants on Saturday 21st September.

Meet at Kilcoole train station car park at 10am. 

This is a free event. All are welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

 

 

For more information contact birdwatchwicklow@gmail.com

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Hello to our Belgian friends!

Students from a class in Overijse in Belgium saw our Green Schools blog and sent this super work to show us the differences between our environments and what both groups in Greystones and Overijse do to try and stay green.

To see their great work check out the Green Schools noticeboard.

A big thank you or ‘Dank U’ to the whole class and particularly to their teacher Sofie for sending over their drawings.

We hope to do more work with you in the near future.

 

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Good news for Kilcoole’s Little Terns!

Little Tern. Photo by Niall Keogh

Little Tern. Photo by Niall Keogh

On Monday 27th May, the first Little Tern nest of 2013 was found with 2 chocolate brown blotched, sandy eggs. Nesting is a bit late this year due to the weather but at least it has started. There is an estimated 70 birds and all are doing well.
To keep an eye on how the little terns are doing go to the BirdWatch Ireland little tern blog. 
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Our Biodiversity Action Day!

 

 

A BIG thank you to everyone who helped out at our Biodiversity Action day!

Have a look at what we achieved:

  1. We planted a Vegetable garden with Beetroot, Cabbage, Spring onions, Leeks and Broad beans. We sewed Lettuce and Carrot seeds. We also planted Marigolds and Layia seeds as these flowers are supposed to be beneficial to vegetables and ward off  nasty bugs.
  2. We planted Raspberry and Strawberry plants for our Fruit garden.
  3. We created a Scented garden to attract butterflies, bees and insects. This contained Lavender, Sweet pea, Marigold, Lobellia, Daisies, Phlox, Convulvulous, Crocosmia and Sunflowers.
  4. Our Wildflower patch was full of native Irish wildflowers – Yarrow, Wild strawberry, Primrose, Bluebells, Ox-eye daisy, Field scabious, Honeysuckle, Selfheal, Devils bit scabious and Sheeps bit. We also put down some wildflower seeds.
  5. We relocated our Bird feeding station as this had to be moved because of building work at the school.
  6. We put up a Bird box. We choose a Blue Tit box which we got from BirdWatch Ireland.
  7. We put up a Bee home.
  8. We put up a Butterfly and Lacewing box.
  9. We put up a wooden Peanut feeder donated to us by CJ Wildlife.
  10. We set up a log pile for our Insect hotel.

Thanks to Alex and Emma from Kilquade Garden Centre  for all their advice on what vegetables and plants to put down. Also to Declan in BirdWatch Ireland for  his advice on bird and wildlife boxes. Thanks also to Future Forests and Mary Ann for help with the native Irish wildflowers and to the Irish Wildlife Trust for pointing us in the right direction. Thanks to CJ Wildlife who donated a wooden bird feeder plus peanut butter bird feed. Finally thank you and well done to all the volunteers, parents, siblings and the green school committee for all your great work.

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Today’s the day!

 

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The sun is shining and the birds are singing! Time to grab your spade, trowel and camera and get out and celebrate International Biodiversity Day! 

Bioodiversity is our green schools theme so we want to make a special effort to mark this day at St. Brigids school. The Green schools committee along with parents, students and members of their families will plant a new vegetable and flower garden. There will be a vegetable patch, a flower patch as well as a native Irish wildflower patch. We have plants to put down and seeds to sew.

Keep an eye out for new bird boxes, bird feeders, a butterfly house and a bee home. We will also relocate our bird feeding station that had to be taken down due to building work and we will set up a new log pile and a mini-beast hotel.

All this great work is bound to increase the biodiversity in our school grounds. So get out there and have fun checking it out!

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Biodiversity Action Day!

May 22nd is International Biodiversity Day!

To mark this day we are having a day of action. This will involve putting up bird boxes, bird feeders, insect homes and log piles. We will also be planting wildflowers, vegetables and flowers in our new raised beds.

Everyone is welcome to help out and make this a great day. It starts at 1.30pm on Wednesday.

Hope to see you there!

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Biodiversity Week

Biodiversity week takes place from 18th to 26th May. The whole country will be celebrating this week in many ways but Wicklow chose to use the theme ‘Wild Wicklow’ and dedicate it to the  memory of a local resident the late Eamon De Buitlear.

Groups involved include: The Irish Wildlife Trust, BirdWatch Ireland, Wicklow Mountains National Park and Wicklow County Council.

 

 

 

 

For more information about what’s on go to:

http://www.wicklow.ie/heritage

http://www.noticenature.ie

http://www.countywicklowheritage.org

 

For information on Biodiversity in Wicklow click here.

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Protected Species on our Doorstep!

Did you know that Kilcoole beach is home to a protected species? Not only that but they are one of Ireland’s rarest seabirds!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Terns are the rarest of Ireland’s five breeding tern species, with a population that fluctuates between 200-300 pairs from year to year. The colony at Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow is currently the largest in the country where 50-100 pairs regularly breed.

 

Little Terns were first recorded breeding at Kilcoole in 1853. The tern colony has been protected by wardens since 1985 under a joint intiative run by BirdWatch Ireland & National Parks & Wildlife Service. As a result of this work, the number of breeding birds has risen dramatically from as low as 14 pairs in 1985 to 106 pairs in 2006.

 

Keep an eye on this year’s little tern population by checking out the BirdWatch Ireland blog at

http://littleternconservation.blogspot.ie/

 

Have you ever seen the little terns at Kilcoole? They look like small seagulls and are great at diving for fish. Let us know if you have seen any!

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Did you know that we have Eagles in Ireland?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White-tailed eagles were re-introduced into Ireland in 2007 after an absence of over 100 years. The re-introduction programme released 15 to 20 young eagles from Norway into Killarney National Park.

So far, 100 birds have been released. Altogether, there are 12 nesting pairs in Ireland, living mainly along the southwest coast from Kerry to Clare.

But the most exciting news so far is that they have had babies!! Baby eagles are known as eaglets.

Project Manager Dr Allan Mee has confirmed that three babies have been born in the past week. One was born in Mountshannon on Lough Derg in Co Clare, and the other in Killarney National Park, where the project began six years ago.
Have you ever seen any birds of prey?
 

 

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Dawn Chorus!

BirdWatch Ireland’s National Dawn Chorus Day Sunday 19th May 2013

National Dawn Chorus Day is traditionally the day when wildlife enthusiasts the length and breadth of Ireland set their alarm clocks a little earlier than usual and go out to enjoy a morning of beautiful birdsong.  You can experience the marvel of the dawn chorus; the birds will be in full voice throughout early summer, and the best time to hear them is in the twilight period just before the sun comes up.

 

For further details, please call BirdWatch Ireland at 01-2819878 or e-mail info@birdwatchireland.ie

The Wicklow Outing will take place at Glendalough followed by optional birdsong workshop. Meet at Glendalough Information Centre by Upper lake at 5:00 a.m. Note €4 car park fee at Upper Lake.

 

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