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eWings
Issue 85, October 2016
BIRDWATCH IRELAND eWINGS
Welcome to the October 2016 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
We have just learned that Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural, and Gaeltacht Affairs, Ms. Heather Humphreys TD, is planning to reintroduce the controversial Heritage Bill 2016.

In response to this, a coalition of Irish conservation and environmental NGOs (BirdWatch Ireland, An Taisce, the Irish Wildlife Trust and the Hedgelaying Association of Ireland) is urging you, if you have not done so already, to please sign our joint No to More Slash and Burn petition to stop the passage of the Heritage Bill 2016. Please add your voice to those of the 23,000+ people who have already said "no" to the proposed changes.

The changes which Minister Humphreys is proposing to Section 40 of the Wildlife Act 1976 (as amended in 2000) would allow hedgecutting during August, at a time when birds such as the Yellowhammer are still nesting, and would also permit the burning of habitats in the uplands into the month of March, again at a time when sensitive upland species such as the Curlew are beginning their nesting activities and starting egg-laying. Minister Humphreys' proposed changes are completely contrary to scientific advice, but this appears not to matter. Check out our webpage with all the information you need to understand the issues.
To view the articles and news in full simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each article summary.
ARTICLES
National Workshop to address the plight of the Curlew
The Curlew, one of Ireland's most iconic wild birds, is under serious threat. Unless urgent action is taken, it is facing extinction as an Irish breeding species within the next 10 years. BirdWatch Ireland, University College Dublin and Curlew campaigner Mary Colwell are organising a one-day workshop for experts and local community representatives to formulate ways to halt its decline on 4th November at the New Forest Golf Club in Co. Westmeath. (Photo: Curlew in farmland habitat, by Mike Brown)
Learn more about our upcoming workshop to address the plight of the Curlew
Garden Bird Survey: how did our feathered friends fare last winter?
The annual Garden Bird Survey is BirdWatch Ireland's most popular survey, with thousands of people all across Ireland helping us to keep track of the fortunes of our garden bird populations. The results of last winter's survey are about to be published in the Winter 2016 issue of Wings, our quarterly print membership magazine (see left), but we have an exclusive sneak preview for eWings readers now.

If you are a member of BirdWatch Ireland, you will be receiving Wings in the post within the next few days. If you are not a member, then you will miss out . . . but we can fix that very easily. If you become a member of BirdWatch Ireland today, you will receive 4 issues of Wings over the next year, along with a welcome pack, a set of posters and the opportunity to attend branch events and activities across Ireland. Best of all, you will be supporting BirdWatch Ireland's ongoing work to conserve Ireland's birds: we really need your help.
Read last winter's Garden Bird Survey results in an exclusive Wings extract (PDF: 471KB)
Support our wildlife: buy your Christmas cards from BirdWatch Ireland
It won't be long until the festive season is here: have you bought your Christmas cards yet? BirdWatch Ireland has produced a gorgeous new range of Christmas cards, each featuring images of some of Ireland's best-loved birds. All proceeds go to support our efforts to conserve Ireland's birds, and by sending our cards to your friends and family you are also helping to spread the word about our vital work.
See our new range of Christmas cards, available now from the BirdWatch Ireland shop
Oiled Wildlife Response Network workshop in Co. Donegal
A training day organised by the Oiled Wildlife Response Network for volunteers interested in helping wildlife, particularly seabirds and other waterbirds, in the aftermath of an oil spill is being held in the northwest, at Killybegs Coast Guard Station, Co. Donegal, on Saturday 12th November. Whilst the involvement of veterinary professionals is a vital part of a response, this training is suitable for all interested volunteers. BirdWatch Ireland's Senior Seabird Conservation Officer, Dr. Stephen Newton will be present on the day to give a talk on Ireland's seabirds. Participation is free of charge, but advance booking is necessary.
Please click here to learn more about this workshop and to book your free place today
Minister Creed needs long-term vision to help end overfishing
Managing how we fish our seas and how much we fish is vital to ensure the industry becomes more sustainable and economically viable into the future. We need healthy fish stocks to support coastal communities and wildlife, including seabirds, that depend on fish for their survival. In advance of this December's annual European Council negotiations on fishing limits, BirdWatch Ireland and several other Irish interest groups have written a joint letter to ask our new Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD, for his commitment that he will do his utmost to ensure there are no delays in achieving an end to overfishing. (Photo: Puffin with Sandeels, by Peter Loughlin)
Read our joint letter to Minister Michael Creed dated 18th October 2016 (PDF: 425KB)
Calling all primary teachers: we need your help with an important survey
If you happen to be a primary school or pre-school teacher, or indeed if you happen to know one, we need your help. In last month's issue of eWings we announced that BirdWatch Ireland is a partner in a newly-launched environmental education survey called "Empowering Teachers and Pupils for a Better Life through Nature", funded by the EU's Erasmus+ programme.

As a first step in this new project, we want to work out exactly what teachers need from us and how best we can facilitate environmental and nature-based teaching, both inside and outside the classroom. To this end, we have designed a simple survey which we would encourage as many teachers as possible to complete. It only takes a few minutes, and the results will be invaluable to us in shaping the teaching materials and resources we produce in order to ensure maximum benefit for teachers and pupils alike.
If you are a teacher, please complete our quick survey; if not, please pass it on to any teachers you know
FINALLY...
BirdWatch Ireland's volunteer-run branches form the backbone of much of our local conservation and outreach work. Running hundreds of free events per year, conducting surveys and conservation projects and enthusing local communities about Ireland's wildlife, they are utterly vital to the success of our organisation.

We are delighted to announce that in early December we will be holding a special national workshop for BirdWatch Ireland branch representatives. This will be the first in a planned series of such gatherings, aimed at providing more support for our branches, increasing the connections between them and ensuring that our branch network will grow stronger and stronger.

On that note, if you have never attended a local BirdWatch Ireland branch event before, you really should give it a try this winter. Beginners, in particular, are always very welcome.

See you again next month,

Niall Hatch
Development Officer
BirdWatch Ireland
Unit 20, Block D
Bullford Business Campus
Kilcoole
Co. Wicklow
A63 RW83
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.
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