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eWings
Issue 53, February 2014
BIRDWATCH IRELAND eWINGS
Welcome to the February 2014 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
We've had some pretty terrible weather in Ireland of late, making it difficult to accept that spring is here. The days are getting longer, however, which means that many of our wild birds are now beginning to switch into breeding mode. Keep an eye out where you live over the coming weeks for signs of nesting activity: perhaps a Magpie carrying a stick or a Robin frantically dashing from bush to bush, trying to find the perfect spot for a nest.

This is also the time of year when members of the tit family prospect for nesting holes; you may notice Blue Tits, for example, popping in and out of your garden, studying tree trunks and gaps in walls for likely entry points. Natural nest holes are at a real premium for these species, but luckily there is something we can all do to help them out. Nestboxes make a great addition to almost any garden, park or school, and the sooner you get them up, the more likely it is that they will be used.

You'll see below that we currently offer a superb camera nestbox system, but our shop also stocks a wide selection of other nestboxes that are designed to suit a range of different species and environments. Of course, by purchasing your nestboxes and other birdcare products from BirdWatch Ireland you are automatically doing even more to help Ireland's birds, as all the proceeds go to support our conservation work.
To view the articles and news in full simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each article summary.
ARTICLES
BirdWatch Ireland seeks volunteers to help find nesting Curlews
The Curlew may be facing extinction as an Irish breeding bird. We need volunteers to help locate pairs during this year's nesting season, which runs from April to July. At present, we have no clear idea of how many pairs remain; there may be as few as 100. Curlews often nest in remote uplands or bogs and so can be hard to find, but we plan to survey areas where we have previous reports. If you can take on an area to survey, please email Anita Donaghy at adonaghy@birdwatchireland.ie. Full details and training will be provided.

(Photo: Curlew by Brendan Shiels)
Find out more about the decline of the Curlew, one of Ireland's most iconic birds
Spring 2014 issue of Wings out now . . . but only if you're a member
There are many great reasons to join BirdWatch Ireland, not least of which is that by doing so you are supporting Ireland's largest and most effective conservation charity. One of the additional key benefits is that our members receive 4 issues of Wings, our acclaimed membership magazine, in the post each year. You already know the good work we do, so if you're not yet a member, please join us today: your support would be greatly appreciated. If you'd like to get a taste of what you're missing, simply follow the link below.
Read Dick Coombes' Spring Diary, an extract from Wings Spring 2014 (PDF: 962KB)
Watch the birdie!
If you haven't already put up a nestbox in your garden don't worry - there's still time! One exciting way to maximize enjoyment from birds nesting in your garden is by using a camera nestbox: it allows close-up viewing both day and night so you get to see all the action on your television. Everything from nestbuilding and egg-laying to chicks being fed and taking their maiden flights can be enjoyed using our high-quality camera nestbox systems. Don't miss out on the action - buy your camera nestbox now!
Buy your high-quality camera nestbox from the BirdWatch Ireland shop for €129, plus P&P
National Biodiversity Data Centre to host two bird-themed workshops
This year, as part of its annual identification and training workshop programme, the National Biodiversity Data Centre will be hosting two bird-related workshops in conjuction with BirdWatch Ireland and NPWS. Dick Coombes will be delivering a workshop on Beginners Birdwatching on Saturday 12th April, while Olivia Crowe will be running another on Bird Survey Techniques on Wednesday 23rd April.
Learn more about these and other workshops that NBDC is hosting in 2014 (PDF: 708KB)
Winter seabird strandings: a request for records
Over the past month, many stranded seabirds have been reported along the Atlantic coast of Europe. Numbers of dead or dying seabirds found on beaches have been greatest in Brittany, the Channel Islands and along the southwest coast of Britain. The situation in Ireland seems less severe, but numbers of dead seabirds (such as this Razorbill - photo, Cammy Harley) have been reported Cos. Donegal, Galway, Cork and Wexford. Recent prolonged bad weather is believed to have been the main factor behind these strandings: exhaustion and lack of food leads to the birds washing up on beaches either dead or in a weakened condition. In order to ascertain the full scale of the problem, BirdWatch Ireland is asking the public to report any dead or dying seabirds found washed up along the coast.
Learn how to report your stranded seabird sightings and the information we need
BirdWatch Ireland survey training workshops during March in Cos. Clare and Tipperary
As mentioned in last month's eWings, BirdWatch Ireland is holding a series of training days for its Irish Wetland Bird Survey (I-WeBS) and Countryside Bird Survey (CBS). Two of these training sessions will be held during March, and the details are as follows:

Sunday 9th March - Temple Gate Hotel, The Square, Ennis, Co. Clare.
Saturday 22nd March - Cabragh Wetlands Trust, Holycross Road, Thurles, Co. Tipperary (mainly CBS).

The schedule for each day will be the same:

09:30 - 10:00 Arrival
10:00 - 13:00 Illustrated talks, instruction about survey methods, ID and a chance to ask questions, with a tea/coffee break mid-morning.
13:00 Lunch (provided)
13:45 Short field trip, which should be finished by approx. 15:30.

The main aim is to recruit new survey participants and explain the survey methods in an informal but also informative way. These training days also provide a great opportunity for "old hands" to get a refresher and to meet with and encourage the new people coming on board. Topics covered will include: why we do these surveys, how we carry them out and what results we have found so far. There will also be tips on identification and an opportunity to ask questions. The training, lunch and refreshments are all free of charge.
To help us plan for numbers, please click here to register your interest in either of these training days
FINALLY...
Lengthening days mean that our first spring migrants can't be far away: mid-March usually sees our first Sand Martins, Wheatears and Sandwich Terns of the year arriving back from their winter quarters. At the same time, our winter visitors, such as Brent Geese and Barnacle Geese, are getting ready to depart, making the coming weeks very exciting for birdwatchers across the country.

If you are lucky enough to be able to get out and about to see some birds, why not let us know about what you find? The most useful way to get your data to us is to submit your sightings via BirdTrack, our online bird recording scheme. The information you send us plays a vital role in allowing us to assess bird populations and movements, and it's also a great way for you to store all your observations online for future reference.

Yours sincerely,
Niall Hatch, Development Officer
BirdWatch Ireland
Unit 20, Block D
Bullford Business Campus
Kilcoole
Co. Wicklow
Tel: (+353)-(0)1-2819878
Email: info@birdwatchireland.ie

BirdWatch Ireland is the trading name of the Irish Wildbird Conservancy, a company limited by guarantee and registered in Ireland, no. 116468. Registered Charity no. 5703.
Please note that BirdWatch Ireland will never pass your personal details on to anyone else.
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