FILE PHOTO of Golden Plover birds
Public notices are advising people who regularly walk their dogs at the Curragh training ground to be mindful of a flock of up to 5,000 birds who spend the winter in the area.
Golden Plovers are a protected species which usually fly south from Iceland or the Faroe Islands in October and are particularly fond of the rolling grassland of the Curragh.
Public information signs have been erected by Curragh Racecourse at the perimeter of the training grounds area of the Curragh Racecourse.
People are permitted to walk dogs there after 1.30pm each day to allow for horses to be exercised before then.
The Golden Plover, which feeds mainly on worms, is a little bit bigger than a blackbird.
It gets its name from the golden yellow patches on the feathers of back and wings.
For locals, it is an impressive sight to see thousands of Golden Plover wheeling around in the winter sunshine over the Curragh.
The public notice signs say: “Each winter the Curragh Racecourse attracts a large number of Golden Plover — a protected species that returns to the racecourse each evening.
“The current number over-wintering on the racecourse is estimated to be 5,000 birds.
“They are generally accepting of low volume machinery movement and walkers in their vicinity but can be alarmed at the sudden arrival of loose dogs in hunting mode.
“Dog owners are requested to avoid areas where the Plover are congregating and to keep their dogs under control when using the racecourse facilities."
“Working together we can continue to enjoy these beautiful birds each winter and contribute in a small way towards the protection of an endangered species.”
The Golden Plover is a protected species under the Wildlife Act and under the EU Birds Directive.
Experts believe that the Golden Plover has been using the Curragh for wintering dating back to when the Plains were exposed after the Ice Age.
Most Golden Plover that come to Ireland breed in the Faeroe Islands and Iceland with a small number breeding in Scotland.
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