We live beside them day in day out, but the helter-skelter pace of life means that often we don't notice the blue tit or the robin as they busy themselves in our gardens. The fox might stop us in our tracks but he's usually long gone by the time we get up and start our day.
But with routine gone out the window, schools out and a restriction on how far we can go, our world has shrunk to the small patch of ground we call home and our immediate environs.
Instead of making lunches and rushing around trying to get the kids out to school, I head into the woods behind my house or to the shores of Lough Foyle across the road and start my day in nature, bringing my phone with me to take some photos.
I've found frogs and squirrels and attempted to photograph them and while the fox and badger remain elusive I know they're there. I've photographed the brent geese before they left Inishowen, where they winter, to head back to Greenland to have their chicks. And I've snapped the cormorant, the bravest of all the birds in my opinion, as he disappears beneath waves that look like they'll crush him.
My photos don't do justice to the majesty of the creatures that I feel like I'm seeing through fresh eyes, despite the fact that I've lived beside them for years.
Lockdown seems to have unleashed a passion for wild creatures with more people snapping and sharing precious photos online. The membership of Facebook group Irish Wildlife Photographers, which is open to anyone with an interest in wildlife, whether the photo is taken on a phone or on top-of-the-range camera, has swelled to nearly 5,000 with daily postings that would take your breath away.
Gerard Moyne, a retired dad of three from Carndonagh, Co Donegal, has been sharing some of his photographs in the group. While photography sometimes means being in the right place at the right time, lockdown means more time to wait and see what's going on, he says. While he's always enjoyed taking photos, it's giving him great joy to be able to share his photographs of creatures in the hills of Donegal with kindred spirits.
Gerard, who lives with his wife Síofra and eldest daughter Ailbhe (24) who was meant to be travelling the world on a year's sabbatical when lockdown came, says people's photographs of wildlife and nature will be important to generations to come as a record of this time.
"These photos capture a moment. They tell the story of lockdown. Wouldn't it be amazing if we could put them all together in a manuscript," he says.
For the last few weeks Gerard has been busying himself in the garden building a greenhouse. His camera - a Nikon - was his constant companion as he steadily built, went for walks or tended the garden. "It's mainly birds I photograph, everything from buzzards and crows to goldfinches. There's such variety and it brings me solitude and peace. I practice yoga and it's like yoga in the same way that it's very settling," he says of his photography.
His most precious photo is a picture of his daughter Ailbhe with a bird feeding from her outstretched hand.
At her home in Shankill in Dublin, mother of three, Sharon Burrell, makes the most of her daily walks by photographing sand martins nesting on the sea cliffs. But it was the fox cub she captured in the garden of a friend that will be her reminder of lockdown.
With her Canon camera and recently acquired lens, Sharon says she's still learning and has more blurry pictures than not. But on the morning of May 17 when she rose at 6am and snapped the baby fox, her pictures were crystal clear as she caught him staring timidly into her camera.
"It's all about realising what's on your doorstep," says Sharon, mum to James (24), Nicole (21) and Victoria (17). "Lockdown has really opened up my eyes to that," she says.
Mum of three, Dee Butler, from Carrigaline in Co Cork, found that letting her son use her phone to take pictures on their family walk was helping with the anxiety he was feeling about Covid-19.
"When we'd go out Liam (11) would lag behind his two younger siblings and he was becoming very anxious and fearful," says Dee. "During the summer holidays he'd take photos on my phone so I gave him the phone and he started taking pictures," she says.
"He started taking pictures of wildflowers and whatever we'd see on our walk and he started to relax. He takes his time and it's a really good distraction. There are no filters - he has a good eye and he's enjoying it," says Dee, who has made a presentation book of Liam's nature photography in lockdown.
Liz O'Neill, a member of the RTÉ concert orchestra, started taking photographs at the same time as she embarked on a fitness journey a couple of years ago. When she'd go for a walk or a run in Corkagh Park in Dublin's Clondalkin, she'd bring her phone and snap away.
Shortly afterwards she got a decent camera for Christmas and started taking more photographs. As well as practicing her viola, her days in lockdown are spent going to Corkagh Park which she describes as a beautiful gem, and photographing the birds and plants there.
"It's just a wonderful escape - I don't mean that in a bad way - I'm just going out to get moving and exercising and I bring the camera. These are such uncertain times, you could sit at home worrying about what's going to happen or get out," says Liz, whose pride and joy is the photograph of a swan and two cygnets she recently snapped. She titled it 'Proud Mum'.
For Kiaya King, from Moycullen in Co Galway, photographing wildlife has punctuated her days in lockdown. The evening time is when she's taken her most prized photos of foxes from her bedroom window.
"The mother fox was out there and then the baby just came along. I thought my heart was going to burst out of my chest. Then I noticed there were a couple of babies," says Kiaya, who works as a legal secretary.
"Taking the photos gives me something to think about. During the day I'm looking at butterflies in the garden or bees. Then I might see a hedgehog or a fox. I use a Nikon camera - it's not fancy, I picked it up second-hand years ago. I take my pictures in automatic mode and hope for the best," she says.
She believes that patience is a more important ingredient for a great photo than a camera with all the bells and whistles. "I sit at my bedroom window and barely breathe. The animals will come to you if you let them."