The Phoenix Park is the most important site for birds in Dublin City. The expanses of semi-natural habitat offer cover, abundant food supplies and nesting sites. Recent surveys recorded seventy two species in the Park throughout the year, of which forty seven are breeding. The park supports twenty eight species of conservation concern in Ireland including four which are red listed. The total number of species found comprises 35% of the total number of species found in Ireland. The greatest density of birds was found in Dublin Zoo where the wild birds share in the food provided to its permanent residents. The lowest density was recorded along Chesterfield Avenue where noise and disturbance makes the area unattractive for birds.
Important features of bird biodiversity in The Phoenix Park include:
- Presence of fourteen species of conservation concern in Europe
- Presence of four species of bird under threat in Ireland. These are the Shoveller, Golden Plover, Black Headed Gull, and Herring Gull
- Presence of seventeen Amber listed species of medium conservation concern in Ireland. They include Tufted Duck, Coot, Stock Dove, Skylark and Swallow
- Breeding Kestrel and breeding Skylark. It is remarkable to find Skylark so near the city centre
- Presence of Jay and Stock Dove associated with woodlands. These species are an indicator of good old woodlands.
The Phoenix Park is an important site for bats in Dublin as its lakes, ponds, woodlands and grasslands support significant numbers of insects on which they feed, whilst buildings and old trees provide numerous roosting sites. At dusk, bats can be easily seen foraging over the lakes and ponds or along the tree lines or woodland rides within the Park. The greatest amount of bat activity is associated with Dublin Zoo.
Important features of bat biodiversity within The Phoenix Park include:
- Six of the ten bat species found in Ireland are present in the park including species of Pipistrelle not previously recorded in Dublin City. Natterers’ and Whiskered Bats are also present.
- Evidence for large roosts at several locations (chimney in St Mary’s Hospital Complex, Ordnance Survey Ireland, west of Dublin Zoo).
- Minor roosts in The Cooley Chapel in St Mary’s Hospital Complex, The Park Superintendents Lodge and Magazine Fort.
Half of all species of terrestrial mammals found in Ireland can also be found in The Phoenix Park. They are principally found at the western end which is bounded by Farmleigh and Mount Sackville. Hares and red squirrel were present in the recent past but the former were disturbed by dogs and the latter have disappeared through competition with the grey squirrel.
Important features of mammal biodiversity in The Phoenix Park include:
- The established herd of 400-450 fallow deer descend from the original herd introduced in the 1660s.
- The presence of over 20 badger setts which are occupied by at least six social groups. They are concentrated around the edges of the Park. Badgers forage in grasslands and signs of digging for earthworms provide evidence of their presence.
- Other animals abundantly present in the Park include foxes, hedgehogs, rabbits, pygmy shrew, house mice, wood mice and brown rats.
A long established tradition of the use of the Park to support research on mammals and particularly deer. As a result staff, residents and visitors are very aware of mammals and there is considerable baseline data on the status of this group of animals.