Skip navigation
Print page

Conservation in Northern Ireland

Corncrake hiding in meadow

Image: Andy Hay

The RSPB has been championing the conservation of birds and their habitats in Northern Ireland for over 40 years. 

Northern Ireland is blessed with some of the most important and beautiful wildlife sites in Europe, including the vast wetlands of Strangford Lough and the stunning seabird cliffs at Rathlin Island.

During those 40 years, we have created fantastic habitat for breeding waders, choughs and roseate terns on our nature reserves and worked closely with the Northern Ireland Government to secure the future for birds like the yellowhammer and corncrake in the wider countryside. In 2008, we began an exciting programme to bring the red kite back to Northern Ireland.

However, we face many challenges, many of which are unique to Northern Ireland. For example, many of the most important sites for wildlife have yet to be protected as Areas of Special Scientific Interest, and the laws that protect our wildlife are outdated and need urgent reform. In line with the rest of the UK, we are also seeking new laws to protect Northern Ireland’s marine environment and strict, legally binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

We are working hard to ensure that biodiversity must be a priority for the work of the newly formed Northern Ireland Assembly, at a time when the country is seeking to catch up economically with the rest of the UK and Europe. This remains a massive challenge, and our on-going work with politicians from across the political spectrum is an important component of our work.

Nature reserves in Northern Ireland

Our nature reserves include a wide variety of habitats and wildlife. Find out more about our reserves, how you can visit and what you'll see there. More...

Nature reserves in Northern Ireland

Birds of Conservation Concern in Ireland

In January 2008, the RSPB and BirdWatch Ireland (BWI; our partner organisation in the Republic of Ireland) published the second assessment of the birds of conservation concern in Ireland (the first assessment was published in 1999). More...

Birds of Conservation Concern in Ireland