| 13.2°C Dublin

Disgruntled gulls and happy foxes in a Covid-19 era - wild animals are changing their behaviour

Close

Some wild animals and birds are changing their behaviour in response to altered human activity during the Covid-19 crisis

Some wild animals and birds are changing their behaviour in response to altered human activity during the Covid-19 crisis

Some wild animals and birds are changing their behaviour in response to altered human activity during the Covid-19 crisis

Some wild animals and birds are changing their behaviour in response to altered human activity during the Covid-19 crisis.

Foxes are taking advantage of the absence of people in public parks and urban open spaces to appear in larger numbers and move around in daylight.

But one wild species is not happy with the exodus of people from the centre of Ireland's capital city.

It seems many of the seagulls that hang around in raucous gangs in Dublin city centre have decided to get out of town.

"A lot of the seagulls have moved out of the city because there isn't food around," said Gillian Bird, spokesperson for the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

"The seagulls have moved into the suburbs. Where I live in Citywest, we have a lot more seagulls now," she said.

"Many seagulls survive in the city centre on all the dropped food and takeaways and chips. But the people are not around in the city centre now so seagulls have moved out too."

Ms Bird said the city was seeing more wildlife. Foxes that live in quiet gardens had to contend with these gardens becoming busier with people obliged to stay at home.

As a result, it seems more foxes have moved into public parks which are free of human activity.

She added that the closure of schools would hopefully make children more aware of the wildlife around them.

Daily Digest Newsletter

Get ahead of the day with the morning headlines at 7.30am and Fionnán Sheahan's exclusive take on the day's news every afternoon, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

Parents who bring their children to feed ducks and swans and other birds at ponds and rivers should not feed them white bread, Ms Bird said. While it was best that people did not feed birds in this way, frozen peas and sweetcorn were more suitable.

The dramatic changes in people's lives brought about by the 'stay home' regulations has coincided with a decrease in reports of neglect of domestic animals, she said.

"The usual numbers of calls we get about dogs and other pets being reported as neglected in neighbours' gardens have fallen dramatically," she said. People are at home much more so neglect of pets is not happening as much, she added.

Meanwhile, fewer wild creatures are becoming 'roadkill' thanks to quieter roads, according to nature writer Justin Ivory, who has also noticed the changes in fox behaviour.

"The fall-off in human activity has been a blessing for wildlife," he told the Sunday Independent.

Foxes that are usually seen late at night and in early morning in places, such as the UCD campus at Belfield in Dublin, are more active now in daylight hours, he said.

"Foxes with cubs are run ragged trying to feed them. But they have been able to expand their hunting activities into the daylight hours in parks and other open spaces in recent weeks," he said.

Roads at night were safer for badgers and hedgehogs because far fewer people were driving at night.

The resulting fall in roadkill was good news for species such as hedgehogs, which were "in desperate decline", Justin Ivory said.

"Breeding birds are faring much better at the moment. The absence of loud traffic noise has meant birds can communicate better," he said.

Visit our Covid-19 vaccine dashboard for updates on the roll out of the vaccination program and the rate of Coronavirus cases Ireland


Most Watched





Privacy