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Issue 68, May 2015
BIRDWATCH IRELAND eWINGS
Welcome to the May 2015 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
We really need your help with something very important. It's quick, it's simple and it's completely free of charge. It will make a real difference.

The European Commission wishes to review the Birds and Habitats Directives, the EU laws which form the basis for our own nature protection legislation here in Ireland. This review is called a Fitness Check and it is designed to test whether the directives are still fit for purpose. Sounds benign? There are interests out there who are working very hard to weaken these wildlife protection laws, as they see them as a threat to the 'economic growth at all costs' mantra. We firmly believe that we would have much weaker protection for birds and biodiversity in general if it were not for these directives. They have to be saved.

We need you, please, to sign up to our Save our Nature campaign and to ask your friends and family to do the same. It will take you just a few seconds. This isn't just a simple petition that won't achieve anything, it's a formal submission to the European Commission that must, by law, be heeded. If we get the numbers, we win. More importantly, nature wins. Simply visit the BirdWatch Ireland Save our Nature campaign webpage and follow the simple instructions: many thanks.
To view the articles and news in full simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each article summary.
ARTICLES
Irish and European nature laws under threat
As mentioned above, attempts are being made at European Commission level to weaken the directives that underpin national wildlife protection laws across the EU, including those here in Ireland. So, why are we mentioning it again? Because that's how important this is.

Europe is home to some truly amazing wildlife, such as the White-tailed Eagle and the Iberian Lynx on the left. What a tragedy it would be to lose it. We need you, please, to click the link below and send a message to the European Commission that this matters to you. A name, an email address, a couple of clicks and you're done. Our natural heritage is irreplaceable: let's fight for it.
Click to learn more about the threats to our nature laws and to make your voice heard
From Seabirds to Songbirds - our Cape Clear birdwatching course
BirdWatch Ireland is delighted to announce that it will once again this year be running its popular From Seabirds to Songbirds birdwatching course at our Cape Clear Bird Observatory on Cape Clear island, Co. Cork. Led by our very own Dick Coombes, this year's course will run from 7th to 11th September and is suitable for birdwatchers of all levels, including complete beginners. It will cover a wide range of topics, from the skills to identify, understand and appreciate birds to knowing when and where to find them.
For much more information on our 2015 course or to book your place, please click here
Have you seen our seabird video yet? Please watch and donate
In last month's eWings we mentioned the launch of our new appeal to Save Ireland's Seabirds. We've produced a special short video about it, but at the time of writing it has only received a few hundred views. It deserves much more than that: it's really good!

Please, have a look at it on YouTube and, if you wish, make a donation to help our seabirds, such as this Common Tern chick on the left. Many thanks.
(Photo: Shay Connolly)
Learn more about our Seabird Appeal and why Ireland's seabirds urgently need help
BirdWatch Ireland appeals for breeding Curlew records
We are appealing to the public to take part in a national Breeding Curlew Survey and submit sightings of this highly threatened species. Curlew are on the edge of extinction as a breeding species in Ireland, having declined almost 80% since the 1970s. They nest on the ground in damp, rushy pastures and open moorlands. We need your help to monitor the Irish breeding populations of this iconic and highly threatened species.
(Photo: Curlew on breeding territory by John Fox)
Learn more about our Breeding Curlew Survey and how you can submit your records
The Birds of Ireland: a superb photographic field guide
There's always room on a birdwatcher's bookshelf for one more book! This great field guide by Jim Wilson and Mark Carmody is the first to be endorsed by BirdWatch Ireland. It covers only the birds you will find in Ireland and uses high quality digital photographs to ensure that all 260 species featured are illustrated in every plumage; in total, over 1,600 photographs are included, setting a new standard for Irish field guides. The accompanying text covers the key identification features of each bird, with concise descriptions and pointers to indicate important distinguishing marks. A portion of the proceeds from each book sold goes towards BirdWatch Ireland's conservation work.
Buy your copy of The Birds of Ireland from the BirdWatch Ireland online shop for only €15
Corncrakes return . . .
It's the time of the year again when the Corncrakes have returned to Ireland from their wintering grounds in southeastern Africa and the NPWS Corncrake Conservation Project gets up and running again. The project will census all the calling male Corncrakes in the known hotspots in Donegal and West Connaught and offer grants to farmers for late cutting and Corncrake-friendly mowing via the Corncrake Grant Scheme.

This year, the fieldwork in Co. Donegal will be carried out by BirdWatch Ireland. Daniel Moloney is asking anyone who hears a Corncrake in the county to contact him on 085-7398411 or email him at dmoloney@birdwatchireland.ie as soon as possible as early detection of their breeding sites is vitally important. The male Corncrake has a very distinctive loud "Krek Krek" call which can be heard during the day but usually becomes continuous around dusk and will continue throughout the night until dawn.
Click here to learn more about the Corncrake Conservation project and the special grant scheme for farmers
FINALLY...
Don't forget about our Wildlife in Ireland 2015 photography competition, which we announced back in February's eWings. First prize is one night B&B plus dinner for two in The Lake Hotel, Killarney (in a lake-view room with a complimentary bottle of wine), valued at €250. Second prize is a set of wildlife books from The Collins Press, Cork, valued at €200.

Photographs entered into the competition must have been taken on the island of Ireland or in its territorial waters between 14th February and 30th June 2015. Photographs must be submitted via email to competitions@birdwatchireland.ie, and the closing date for entries is 1st July 2015. A selection of the photographs submitted to the competition will be used in the 2016 BirdWatch Ireland calendar. For a full set of rules and guidelines, please contact Oran O'Sullivan.

BirdWatch Ireland's Annual General Meeting will be held at 12 noon sharp on Saturday 20th June 2015 at the Heritage Hotel, Portlaoise, Co. Laois. All BirdWatch Ireland members are welcome to attend. For more details, please see the Summer 2015 issue of Wings magazine, which all paid-up members should have received in the post. You can download a summary of our annual accounts here.

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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