Ireland buzzing as 68 organisations come together to save pollinators


All-Ireland Pollinator Plan launched, with the aim of identifying actions to help protect pollinators and the livelihoods of farmers who rely on their invaluable pollination service. 

Sixty-eight governmental and non-governmental organisations, including BirdWatch Ireland, have agreed a shared plan of action to tackle pollinator decline and make Ireland a place where pollinating insects can survive and thrive.

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BirdWatch Ireland has major concerns over Star Wars filming on Skellig Michael


BirdWatch Ireland, Ireland’s largest conservation NGO, has serious concerns over today’s announcement that the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys T.D., has granted permission for filming of portions of the next instalment of the Star Wars franchise on the island of Skellig Michael, off the Co. Kerry coast.  


Manx shearwater. © John Fox




Star Wars filming activity on Skellig Michael


BirdWatch Ireland understands that filming activity is proposed on Skellig Michael in September 2015.  At this time of year, the majority of the diurnal seabirds (those active during the daytime) e.g. Puffin, Kittiwake, Guillemot and Razorbill will have finished their breeding season.  


Manx shearwater. © Anthony McGeehan



Red-necked Phalaropes return to Annagh Marsh, Co. Mayo


We are delighted to report that, after an absence of almost 30 years, Red-necked Phalaropes have returned to breed at BirdWatch Ireland’s Annagh Marsh reserve on the Mullet Peninsula, Co. Mayo. 


© Eddie Dunne 



Food Wise 2025- A Ten Year Strategy for the Irish Agri Food Sector


The potential ecological and environmental footprint of this industry-led strategy is a serious concern. There is also a need to add substance to the sustainability claims and ambitions of the strategy.






BirdWatch Ireland appeals for breeding Curlew records


BirdWatch Ireland is appealing to the public to take part in a national Breeding Curlew Survey and submit their sightings of this highly threatened species. BirdWatch Ireland, under contract to the National Parks and Wildlife Service, is undertaking a national Breeding Curlew Survey in parts of the north-west, west and south-west of Ireland and is appealing to members of the public to take part.


© John Carey


The mountains burn, and so do important areas for threatened birds


BirdWatch Ireland is alarmed to learn of a large wild fire in the Slieve Aughty mountain range in Cos. Galway and Clare last weekend. Substantial swathes of mountain habitat went up in flames just as many birds are starting to nest  and just four weeks after the close of the permitted ‘burning season’ for scrub and heather on March 1st.




Irish Hen Harrier Survey 2015 announced


As spring approaches, the enigmatic Hen Harrier will begin displaying and looking for a place to nest in the uplands, typically on deep heather moorland and in young forest plantations or scrub habitats.  There is no greater sight than the “sky-dancing” display of the male Hen Harrier advertising himself to females in spectacular undulating flights which rise and fall rapidly hundreds of metres in mid-air.


Female Hen harrier. © Shay Connolly


Turning words into action for our seas and marine wildlife


In the past year, the Irish Government committed itself to rebuilding fish stocks and to ending the wasteful practice of discarding fish at sea through European policy review. It agreed to legislation that will end EU overfishing by 2015 where possible, and by 2020 at the latest. BirdWatch Ireland believes that this is a crucial step towards ensuring healthy oceans with abundant fish and wildlife, contributing to human well-being.



GLAS - a step in the right direction for biodiversity?


The opening this week of Ireland’s new agri-environment scheme has the potential for Irish farmers to deliver more for biodiversity than any previous scheme.  Part of Ireland’s Rural Development Programme (RDP) for 2014-2020, the detailed specification for the Green Low-carbon Agri-environment Scheme (GLAS) was published on Monday. 




Red shank. © Eddie Dunne


Hen Harrier shot dead in County Kerry


A satellite-tagged Hen Harrier was shot dead this week in Co Kerry. The young female bird was known to thousands of people who had followed her since her first flight from a nest in east Kerry two years ago.


'Heather', female Hen harrier found shot dead. © Barry O'Donoghue (NPWS)


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