The Wildlife Act of 1976, as amended in 2000, (section 22 and others) prohibits the disturbance of wild birds, their nests and their eggs. Visitors must therefore maintain an appropriate distance from any bird, even if it seems tame.
Birds that are sitting on nests should not be approached.
To help minimise the risk of disturbance for breeding birds the Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) and Birdwatch Ireland have developed a ”Code of Conduct” for visitors to seabird breeding colonies:
- Nests and eggs should not be touched or handled in any way. Getting near a nest can result in people being dive-bombed by protective gulls, something that can result in injury to the observer.
- Young birds should not be approached. Parent birds frequently leave their fledglings while foraging for food and so young birds are highly unlikely to have been abandoned.
- Do not feed birds or leave food where it can be reached.
- Photographers should note that while it is acceptable to take pictures of birds from an appropriate distance, birds should not be approached even if they seem tame. It is an offence to walk among nests, e.g. at Gannet colonies, or to seek close up shots without a zoom lens.
- Children should be supervised at all times.
- Please don’t litter and follow the ‘Leave no trace’ campaign guidance.