Photo Courtesy Jim Wilson
This weekend (18th/19th September) Cobh is expected to play host to over 60 twitchers from Britain.
The attraction is the appearance of an Indian House Crow in the town. As the name suggests the Indian House Crow comes from the Indian subcontinent but during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries spread to over 20 countries in South-west Asia, East Africa, and Middle East by deliberate introduction or by hitching a ride on passing ships. The nearest breeding population of this species to Cobh is in Hoek van Holland, near the busy seaport of Rotterdam, in the Netherlands. It is thought that these birds got there on ships sailing through the Suez Canal where Egypt has a breeding population. They were first seen in the Netherlands in 1994 and first breeding was reported there in 1997. Currently there are 26 individuals with six to eight pairs breeding. Cobh is situated in Cork Harbour, one of Ireland’s busiest ports and five or six ships arrive into the port from Rotterdam each week. It takes about 30 hours to make the trip and so it would be no trouble at all for a bird like this to get here.
Let’s hope the Cobh bird stays around for years to come and will go down in lore as one of Cobh’s most unusual tourist attractions.
Thanks to Jim Wilson (www.irishwildlife.net) for the information and pictures.