Sunday 25 February 2018

Ourreal high flyers

Dublin may sometimes appear to its citizens to be a concrete wasteland of traffic and pollution. But there is another side to the capital because Dublin – even the inner city – is home to a remarkable variety of wild birds.

A new photographic book captures this extraordinary aspect of the capital. The fruit of two-years' work by photographer Ray Beggan, the book reveals the hidden life of the wild birds in the city. It gives a remarkable window on to the birds and the secret lives they lead all around us.

Beggan is a music producer and video teacher, but photography is his passion. His favourite birds to photograph were swans and the biggest birds, the mute swans, have the most entries in the book.

"Swans are fascinating creatures and a joy and challenge to photograph. They are among the heaviest creatures on earth capable of flight," he says. "I chose the title Winged Encounters for the book because I didn't generally go out to shoot something specific; I came across these birds as they went about their daily struggle to survive.

"I have tried to portray the lives of swans, herons, mallard, tufted and mandarin ducks, cormorants, different gull species and pigeons."

Mr Beggan adds: "The affection and goodwill of Dubliners for their birds is extraordinary, but the existence of wild birds will always be influenced by what we do, or don't do; we have a duty of care to them.

"I hope these pictures will inspire people to look again at the great treasure in the air that surrounds us."

Sharon O'Neill

Irish Independent

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