Nature, Birds and Wildlife in Lisburn and surrounding areas
It seems that almost every place is less wild than it once was. This is reflected in our bird populations – in recent times in the UK, 19 million pairs of breeding birds have been lost since the late 1960s, almost 23% of the estimated population at that time (The State of the UK’s Birds 2020).
And the wildest places are arguably those where humans and their domesticated animals don’t or can’t go (do any such places remain?) This definition of a wild place might exclude our best nature reserves, which are managed to benefit selected threatened species.
There are 113 Local Wildlife Sites – Sites of Local Nature Conservation Importance – within the Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council Area*. It is vitally important to try and protect areas of semi-natural habitat from development, but, with few exceptions, these places are not accessible to the general public.
So we are glad that wildlife moves! In recent years, species spotted within just a few miles of Lisburn City Centre include Common Sandpiper, Dipper, Glossy Ibis (in flight), Mediterranean Gull, Purple Heron, Raven, Red Kite, Ring Ouzel, and, most recently, a Turtle Dove visiting an urban garden during late 2022.
Perhaps a wild place is better defined as a space that is attractive to wildlife, without causing it harm. So, with a Pied Wagtail roost, somewhere as unnatural as a supermarket car park can become a wild place.
Or maybe it is a question of scale. A wild creature may only need a small space to find what it needs to survive the winter or reproduce. For as long as that space is unaffected by human activity, it remains a wild place.
We have lost a lot, but if you want to see some of the wildlife that still survives, these places might be a good place to start. And enjoy and try to protect nature…wherever you happen to come across it.