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In my early days in Ireland, I noticed that from April to May, it’s a whirlwind as winter visitors bid adieu and a parade of northerly-bound birds swoop in for the summer. Swallows, sand martins, and their feathery cohorts return home to breed, while wanderlust-driven species like the osprey just pass through, teasing the birdwatchers with a glimpse of their majesty.

These vagrants’ arrival is accidental – not unlike my own accidental arrival on Irish soils – and they hail from far-off lands like North America and Asia, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, each encounter a captivating gamble of dubious surprises.

Why do they migrate, you ask ? Food. Always food. Most birds can’t stomach an Irish winter devoid of their favourite insects and jet off elsewhere. South. Always south. 

Migration is a kind of genetic mixer, where species hop between habitats, spreading their DNA like party favours and ensuring population diversity stays lit, a key component for biodiversity preservation. They play essential roles in ecosystems by pollinating flowers, spreading seeds, and controlling insect populations.

After a few weeks, some birds will eventually stop. Perhaps their wings grew tired long ago, weary from escaping winter, and they collapsed, leaving them by the side of the road. Maybe one day they’ll start to fly again. Maybe they’ve simply run out of flights. Anything can run out of anything. A bird can’t run out of sky.


The ornithologist Seán Ronayne has set out on a remarkable mission: to record the sounds of every bird species in Ireland. A capture of the very heartbeat of nature. Today, he has already amassed over 10,000 recordings, cataloguing 194 species. Amidst all this research lies a sobering truth: Ireland’s natural habitats are disappearing, and 63% of the country’s native bird species are facing extinction. The idea of Ronayne’s forthcoming ambient album, “Wild Silence”, strikes a chord with me as it captures the essence of nature – an environment untouched by human activity, reminder of the looming threat of extinction, a time capsule of a world that may soon exist only in memories or documentaries, a world where the chorus of birdsong is but a distant echo.

Seán Ronayne

Ronayne’s work is not just about capturing sounds; it’s about preserving a piece of our heritage, a reminder of the beauty we stand to lose if we don’t take action. 


Green Sod Ireland‘s approach is all about handing the reins to nature. It’s about stepping back and letting ecosystems flourish on their own terms. By embracing the Green Sod way, we’re not just spectators; we’re active participants in nurturing a healthier planet. Find out how you can support this movement and empower nature to thrive here.


References :

Jones, C. (2021, March). Making the most of spring migration. Ireland’s Wildlife. https://irelandswildlife.com/making-the-most-of-spring-migration/ 

O’Hagan, S. (2024, February). ‘Total immersive obsession’ : meet the man on a mission to record every bird in Ireland. The Guardian.