Country Matters: The birds and the bees need your help to brave the heat

Young Herring Gulls have ventured off the roofs and learned to fly. Be careful if you are tempted to lead them out of gardens or driveways. And don’t try to feed them. Parents have not gone away and are viciously protective and make a lot of loud, aggressive calls.

The Drogheda reader watched as a parent bird fed a prostrate youngster and encouraged it to run around using its wings to make short hops to eventually reach an area of ​​greenery.

Meanwhile, adult birds made their presence felt above them. There was a time long ago when such activity was confined to cliffs and offshore islands and was not readily noticed by humans.

And the romantic image of a cloud of seagulls chasing a few fishing boats while the catch is gutted en route to ports on summer evenings is only seen on old John Hinde postcards. But mackerel are back on the south coasts, reports one reader, cooking up his Kerry catch.

Another reader reports that bees are dead and dying in gardens in South West Dublin. I remember a story of dead bees from the same area in the past. Is the weather the cause? A character asks in the old film, To have and not to have: “Have you ever been stung by a dead bee?” (William Faulkner’s screenplay is an “improvement” on the Hemingway story: H reportedly not pleased.)

Dead bees are not a pleasant sight. Help them with water. Cleggan beeman James Morrissey pleads: “Please remember if you water flowers and plants in this weather, you are also saving bees from dying of thirst.”

More about the puffins of Sceilg Mhichíl. From a Kerry exile: “Because of the Gregorian calendar, Lent weddings were performed on the rock in ancient times.” This may be folkloric; I can’t find any historical references to it.

Scottish poet Norman MacCaig found a “crazy, sly clown’s beak of a puffin” – the birds lose it when they set out to cross the ocean at the end of August – and wondered how many times it was “twirled in its burrow/with sixfold moustache.” from tiny fishes”.

This comes from a small amount of puffin lore written by readers about the “little brothers” (Fratercula arctica), with their carnival masks serving as spades to dig caves, aided by sharp, raking toes.

When the birds take off suddenly next month, they’ll zoom off at about 50 mph, but the ocean is their domain for most of their 30-year life. When the single chick has hatched, the parents will feed it for about six weeks and then stop so that, driven by hunger, it makes its way to the sea at night. It won’t return for about two years.

The papal dispensation once allowed the birds to be eaten during Lent – like in the tradition of the barnacle goose. The flesh is wild red and is still occasionally eaten in Iceland.

And more details on the Swedish cranes from mid-August to September. The Lake Hornborga site is a two-hour drive from Gothenburg Airport and there are hotels in the towns of Skara and Falkoping, as well as wildlife tours from AviFauna Nature Tours ( and Birding Ecotours (

Finally, a heartfelt thank you to the readers for a lot of information, which is not always immediately appreciated in such outbursts, but is very much appreciated.

And don’t forget to provide water for all living things in this oppressive weather. Country Matters: The birds and the bees need your help to brave the heat

Fry Electronics Team

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