Issue 103, April 2018
Welcome to the April 2018 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
In last month's edition of eWings we mentioned that BirdWatch Ireland's Roseate Tern Conservation Project on tiny Rockabill Island, off the north Co. Dublin coast, had made it through to the final of the prestigious Natura 2000 Awards, something no other Irish initiative has ever achieved.

We encouraged our eWings readers to vote online for the Rockabill project to win, and hundreds of you did . . . but 25,000 of you receive this newsletter! Come on - please show your support for a genuine Irish conservation success story and cast your vote for the Rockabill tern project to win the EU Citizens' Award. Voting is very easy and will only take you a few seconds. Voting closes on Sunday 22nd April, so there is not much time left.

To tell you more about the Rockabill project, which BirdWatch Ireland has been operating for the past 29 years in conjunction with the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Commissioners of Irish Lights, we have produced a special short video that is well worth a look, we promise.
To view the articles and news below in full, simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each summary.
Celebrating the beauty of birdsong: the dawn chorus is here again
Throughout the month of May, BirdWatch Ireland branch volunteers across the country are planning a superb programme of dawn chorus walks . . . plus a few dusk chorus walks too, to suit those of you who are not so fond of early starts! All of our branch birdsong events are free of charge and open to all: they are not just for dedicated birdwatchers by any means.

If enjoying the dawn chorus without having to leave your bed is more your style, you will be pleased to know that Mooney Goes Wild and BirdWatch Ireland will once again be joining forces to bring you our award-winning International Dawn Chorus programme on RTÉ Radio One. Derek Mooney and his team will be joined live by BirdLife International Partners and national EBU radio stations spanning the entire continent. Tune in between midnight and 7:00am on Sunday 6th May to hear what all the excitement is about.

(Photo: Robin, one of the stars of the dawn chorus, in song, by Kimberle Stark)
Get details of upcoming birdsong events near you: check back frequently for updates
Call for records of rare breeding birds
With the nesting season now well and truly underway, the Irish Rare Breeding Birds Panel is looking for help with surveys of rare breeding bird species across Ireland. It has developed a section on its website that it is hoped will encourage more submissions this year, allowing users to view maps illustrating the priority species that might be present in each county. The species profiles section of the website also provides useful tips on how best to go about surveying for each species, including links to songs and calls.
It is not too late to get started - take a look at the IRBBP website and submit your records
Ireland's Garden Birds: the ideal book for any bird-lover
We are often asked to recommend books about garden birds. The best book available for garden bird fans in Ireland is, hands down, Ireland's Garden Birds by Oran O'Sullivan and Jim Wilson. An essential companion for bird lovers and gardeners alike since it was first published in 2008, this acclaimed guide is now in its second edition. Containing the latest information and a wealth of brand-new photographs, this book will tell you all you need to know about the birds found in your garden, as well as how to attract them and care for them. It also has a special section highlighting the plants which best support garden wildlife.
Buy Ireland's Garden Birds from BirdWatch Ireland's online shop for just €15.00, plus P&P
Spring Alive: log your first Swallow, Cuckoo or Swift of the year
The first Swallows of 2018 are already here, and the first Cuckoos have begun calling away, having arrived in just the past few days. Knowing the earliest arrival dates for individual birds is not as important as knowing the average arrival date for the species as a whole, however, and this is where our Spring Alive website comes in. It only takes a few seconds to log your first Swallows and Cuckoos of the season there, and when you see your first Swifts returning in the coming weeks you can log them for us too. Many thanks!
Submit your observations to Spring Alive and follow the migrants on their journeys
Cape Clear Bird Observatory Annual Report 2017 - available now!
Cape Clear Bird Observatory, or "The Obs", as it is commonly called, is owned and operated by BirdWatch Ireland. Situated on the migrant hotspot of Cape Clear Island off the West Cork Coast, it is the only bird observatory in the Republic of Ireland, and for decades has hosted everyone from professional ornithological researchers through to beginning birdwatchers.

We are delighted to announce that the observatory's annual report for 2017, compiled by Sam Bayley and Brian Caffrey, has just been published. It makes for truly fascinating reading: if you want to know more about the wealth of birds, as well as mammals, insects, fish and other creatures, recorded on Cape Clear Island during 2017, well, look no further!

(Photo: Rustic Bunting on Cape Clear, by Dick Coombes)
Download our Cape Clear Bird Observatory Annual Report 2017 (PDF: 3.35MB)
Lights at Night: shedding some light on nocturnal bird activity
As part of a new citizen science project called Lights at Night, funded by the EPA and SFI and promoted by the Irish Times, Prof. Brian Espey of Trinity College Dublin is asking BirdWatch Ireland members and eWings readers to help to study the possible effects of light on birds at night, and whether these effects have been increasing.

The survey is conducted using a simple online questionnaire. To identify yourself as a BirdWatch Ireland member or supporter when completing the questionnaire, for Question 1, which concerns your location, please tick the option marked "other" and in the adjacent box type, for example, "BWI - urban", "BWI - rural", etc. Please note that answers recording that there has been no change in the dawn chorus (Question 5) are as important as answers confirming that there has been a change, and answers from members in dark rural areas are also important.

If you would like to contribute more specific results, such as which particular bird species are affected, timings of the dawn chorus, nesting behaviour changes due to the proximity of lights, etc., you can email Prof. Espey directly.
See the online Lights at Night questionnaire and give details of the effects of nocturnal light on birds in your area
BirdWatch Ireland is delighted to be part of a fantastic new broadcast event called Nature Live: a live one-hour television programme presented from the heart of Dublin city by RTÉ's Derek Mooney, showcasing, in real time, some of the most spectacular wildlife our continent has to offer. Six countries - Ireland, Norway, The Netherlands, Slovenia, Romania and Spain - will be coming together to celebrate our continent's shared natural heritage on RTÉ One Television on Sunday 6th May, starting at 6:30pm.

Highlights will include: Basking Sharks off the Blasket Islands, Iberian Lynx in Spain's Coto Doñana National Park, Polar Bears on the Norwegian island of Svalbard, Peregrine Falcons in the heart of Amsterdam, Alpine Ibex high in the mountains of Slovenia, Brown Bears in Romania's remote mountain forests, and the hidden lives of Grey Herons and Little Egrets in their nests in St. Anne's Park, in the heart of the Dublin Bay Biosphere. Prepare to see Europe's wildlife in an entirely new light!

Here is the most exciting part: we have exclusive audience tickets available for eWings readers, which will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. So, if you would like to be part of the live studio audience for Nature Live, please email or phone 01-2082347, stating the number of tickets you are applying for and giving your name, surname and age (plus those of your guests), as well as your address and your contact phone number.

Audience members are asked to be on site at Sir John Rogerson Quay in Dublin at 5:30pm on Sunday 6th May, and gates will close at 5:45pm. Unfortunately RTÉ is unable to accommodate children under 12 years of age, and all minors under 16 must be accompanied by an adult/guardian.

See you again next month!

Niall Hatch
Public Relations, Branches & Development Officer

P.S. Would you like to join as a member today and/or make a donation to support our vital conservation work?
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