Wild Connections - Biodiversity


Learning Outside the Classroom


Online Educational Resource | Primary & Post-Primary

Join zoologist Catherine McGuinness as she investigates the world of aquatic invertebrates at Birr Castle Demesne whilst also explaining the importance of ecology and its associating factors.
Watch and discover what Catherine finds through the methodology of pond dipping to see what truly lies beneath!

Join renowned ecologist and botanist John Feehan as he delves into the meadow at Birr Castle Demesne and the array of biodiversity that is held within!
Discover the multitude of flora that is found in the meadow at Birr Castle Demesne that can be found within John’s new book ‘A Microcosmic Jungle‘.

Watch as Dr. Alex Copeland delves into the world of Biodiversity on World Habitat Day.
Watch Alex as he discusses the importance of the multitude of habitats found within the demesne of Birr Castle and how important it is to truly reconnect with nature.

Wildlife Videos at Birr Castle Demesne

We are delighted to have caught not one, but two of our resident Otters of Birr Castle Demesne on our wildlife cameras! The infamous shy & illusive otters have evaded our wildlife cameras, until now! Throughout the Demesne, along the rivers, you will their ‘slides’ that they use to gain easy access into the river from the walkways! They hold the top predator position in many ecosystems and help protect and preserve the natural heritage in Birr Castle Demesne to this day!

After a long absence of the Red Squirrel in the Demesne, we are delighted to announce the return of the Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) to Birr Castle Demesne. Thanks to recent wildlife camera footage, you will be able to see the red squirrel gather a little nut to feast on the bank of the river!
Did you know that the red squirrel was introduced into Birr Castle Demesne in 1864 by the 3rd Earl of Rosse! Since then the population has fluctuated due to emergence of the Grey Squirrel species within Ireland.
However, in recent years the Red Squirrel population has grown due to many factors. Some people believe that the growing numbers of Pine Marten in the Demesne have aided in the growing population of the Red Squirrel as both Pine Marten & Red Squirrels can co-exist within a habitat!

In this wildlife video, you will see the majestic Fox strolling through the long grass of Birr Castle Demesne! The Fox has been a staple within the ecosystem of the Demesne by keeping the populations of their prey under control! Their main source of food within the Demesne is thought to be the Pine Marten along with other smaller mammals such as the Field Mouse & the Shrew! By controlling the populations of their prey, the fox protects the essential food web to ensure that wildlife will always thrive within the walls of Birr Castle Demesne!

In this wildlife video, you will see a parent Pine Marten along with its Kit climbing through the roots and branches of the trees! You will see in the video how the parent Pine Marten runs & jumps through the branches effortlessly, however the young Pine Marten (Kit) stumbles and falls quite a bit – to the point that the parent must intervene to help the Kit and avoid it falling off of the branch! This will teach the Kit that in later life it must be more agile to effortlessly glide through each of the branches and roots to evade possible predators such as a Fox!

Watch as these beautiful pair of Grey Wagtails survey the bank of the river for little insects to feast on! Look closely as one of the Grey Wagtails scours the bank for food whilst the other Grey Wagtail stays perched on the branch perhaps keeping an eye out for possible predators! Did you know that there is no discovered reason as to why Wagtails wag their tails?

In this video, you will see the unusual method the badger uses to gather materials such as foliage to make its sett! A badger sett is the burrow that the badger sleeps in! This peculiar method of gathering materials can be seen to be quite effective for the badger! The gathering of this material is used as comfortable bedding for the badger! Did you know that badger setts are protected under Irish legislation? The protection of this marvelous species and its enclosure ensures the survival of this beautiful species long into the future!