Ireland has fewer breeding species of bird compared to other European countries, but what it lacks in this respect is compensated for in other ways. Ireland holds healthy populations of species which are in serious decline elsewhere in Europe. Corncrakes are recovering there numbers in the midlands, while Roseate Tern have strongholds in Dublin and Wexford. The islands and headlands of the western and southern coasts have impressive numbers of breeding seabirds and Coal Tit, Jay and Dipper are represented here by subspecies.
Many North American vagrants find there way here following westerly winds in the autumn, particularly onto the West and South West coasts and the same winds bring many pelagic sea birds. In recent years there has been an increase in interest in seabirds generally and it can be said with considerable confidence that we have the best sea watching spots in Europe. Rare Shearwaters and Petrels are now regularly seen at places such as The Bridges of Ross, Mizen Head and Cape Clear Island - mainly due to increased coverage by birders. Even discounting the occurrence of rarities, sea watching off the west coast, given the right conditions, can be an awe inspiring experience with sometimes 10,000 Shearwaters per hour passing close to land. Because of the mild climate, in winter thousands of shorebirds use our estuaries. For the same reason northern gulls do the same. So you can see, Ireland has a lot to offer birders all the year round. This, when combined with lovely scenery, mild climate and its friendly people, all make Ireland an ideal birding spot for a birding vacation or short break.