Conservation efforts are continuing at Kilcoole to conserve breeding lapwings on National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) land at Cooldross.
The lapwing was declared the Republic of Ireland's national bird by a committee of the Irish Wildlife Conservancy in 1990. However, numbers of the ground-nesting wading bird have declined rapidly in Ireland as a breeding species. It is estimated that only between 550 and 660 breeding pairs remain, a decline of 56 per cent over recent years.
The conservation efforts started last year in Kilcoole have continued into 2020. This year saw four lapwing broods being successful.
The site includes grazing to create a short grass sward for the Lapwings to nest in and feed, whilst keeping cattle out from the site once nesting season has begun in order to prevent trampling. Water management is also essential to maintain shallow pools and ditches for chick feeding and predator management to help chick survival.
The ringing of Lapwing chicks this year was curtailed due to Covid-19 restrictions. However, data was collected on nest locations and nesting outcomes, including clutch and brood size and fledging success, were collected. Overall, a total of 10 fledglings were recorded. Oystercatcher and shelduck also successfully bred at Cooldross this year.