Lost bird 'Woody' now back in pecking order
WOODPECKERS -- which were absent in Ireland just five years ago -- have reached their highest numbers in recorded history.
At least 50 pairs of the iconic bird are now breeding in the eastern half of the country, ornithologists said yesterday.
But they are expected to quickly establish colonies nationwide, particularly in counties with dense forests and woodland.
Known as one of Ireland's 'lost birds', experts have long been baffled as to why the species, which is believed to have originated in Britain, was so reluctant to cross the Irish Sea.
Breeding was first confirmed in Northern Ireland in 2006, followed by subsequent confirmation of breeding in Co Wicklow two years ago. The number of nests in Co Wicklow increased from seven in 2009 to 17 this year. At least 50 pairs of the bird, known as the Great Spotted Woodpecker, pictured right, have now been confirmed in counties Dublin, Wexford and Down.