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Dublin: 11 °C Friday 20 September, 2019
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Quiz: Native Irish bird species are in decline - test your knowledge on them before they disappear

Can you tell your curlews from your corncrakes?

Image: Shutterstock/Wildlife World

NATIVE IRISH BIRDS are facing a crisis, BirdWatch Ireland is warning.

Appearing before an Oireachtas committee earlier this week, the organisation warned that a combination of government inaction, climate change and intensive farming has left Ireland facing “dramatic” bird population losses.

The situation is stark: Within in a few years, some species could be extinct in Ireland.

So, before they disappear completely, test your knowledge:

Only around 150 nesting pairs of curlew remain in Ireland – down from the 150,000 pairs in the 1960s and 1970s. Which bird is it?
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And what does the curlew's distinctive call sound like?
beep-leebeep
baaaaaa-dadadadada

a
cour-lee

AAAAAAAAARGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH
LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOlalalalalalaBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAlooooooooooooooooooooooooo
The mallard is a common sight in Ireland - how much has its population declined in the past 20 years?
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20%
0% - it has actually increased

90%
50%
The corncrake is one of the species most at threat from extinction. Pick it out of the lineup.
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This speckled brown bird.
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This speckled brown bird.

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This speckled brown bird.
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This speckled brown bird.
A decline in mixed and arable farming is to blame for a decline in yellowhammer numbers. Which is the yellowhammer?
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The loss of that same habitat lead to the extinction in Ireland of what bird, back in 1991?
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The corn bunting
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The lesser spotted woodpecker

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The red knot
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The canary
What has the kingfisher population been impacted by?
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An invasive species.
Hunting.

Nutrient runoff from farms reducing the number of insects in rivers and lakes.
A natural long-term migratory pattern.
Swifts are also having a tough time - a decline of 50% over the past two decades has been described as 'shocking'. What's one possible reason?
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They have been angered by the pace of social change in Ireland and emigrated.
Old buildings, where swifts like to nest in the roof space and gaps in masonry, are being demolished, renovated and retrofitted.

Its primary food is a bug called cimex simulare - previously no other birds fed on it, but in recent years that changed and now there's more competition.
No one knows.
Hen harrier numbers are in steep decline as their natural upland nesting habitats are being planted with non-native conifer plantations. Spot the hen harrier below.
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Finally, which under-threat bird is this?
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Herring gull
Kittiwake

Budgerigar
Long Island White Gull
Answer all the questions to see your result!
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You scored out of !
You are a bird
There is no other way you could know so much about birds.
Share your result:
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You scored out of !
You are a bird spotter
You know a good bit about Irish birds but it's easy to get them mixed up sometimes.
Share your result:
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You scored out of !
You keep an eye on your bird table
You know your common-or-garden Irish birds but rarer ones are tripping you up.
Share your result:
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You scored out of !
You probably have a manicured lawn
You're not that keen on birds - if anything, you're part of the problem, as you're removing a natural habitat for many of our native species
Share your result:
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You scored out of !
You trim hedgerows during nesting season
You don't have two hoots about Irish birds, do you?
Share your result:

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About the author:

Nicky Ryan

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