Issue 111, December 2018
Welcome to the December 2018 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
BirdWatch Ireland is currently celebrating 50 years of protecting birds and biodiversity. The legacy of the past half-century spent working on behalf of our members and supporters has led to our reputation for being Ireland's most trusted and respected conservation organisation. One of our most important tasks is giving voice to your concerns: we fight on your behalf against environmental degredation, wildlife persecution and habitat destruction.

Over the course of the next year we will be celebrating 50 years of BirdWatch Ireland's work, through special events, publications such as our quarterly Wings membership magazine and, of course, our eWings newsletter. We hope that you will join with us in celebrating this landmark achievement for the Irish conservation sector, and that we can continue to count on your support as we embark on the next 50 years of fighting for Ireland's wildlife.
To view the articles and news below in full, simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each summary.
BirdWatch Ireland's 50th Anniversary Appeal: help our vital work
As mentioned above, BirdWatch Ireland is currently celebrating 50 years of protecting birds and other wildlife in Ireland. We can't do this crucial work without your help. To mark our 50th anniversary we have launched a special fundraising appeal so that we can continue to build on our hard work on your behalf over the past five decades.

Your donation will help us to carry on our vital efforts to protect birds and biodiversity in Ireland, to be a voice for conservation in the corridors of power, to monitor and maintain healthy bird populations and to deliver comprehensive environmental education to the next generation.

Please, give as genorously as you can: your support will make a real difference. Thank you.
Learn more about our 50th Anniversary Appeal and donate to support our vital work
Irish garden birds: the glamorous Great Tit
BirdWatch Ireland's annual winter Garden Bird Survey is now in full swing. If you're taking part, thank you: we hope you are enjoying it as much as we are. If not, well, it's not too late to start: click here for all the details.

If you have a soft spot for garden birds, you will want to keep an eye on our special Garden Bird Blog, which over the next few weeks will be packed with up-to-date information about looking after the birds around your home. We will also showcase a different garden bird each week: this time, it's the turn of a perennial favourite, the glamorous Great Tit. (Photo: Great Tit by Brian Burke)
Learn more about one of Ireland's most colourful garden visitors in our Garden Bird Blog
Take just 10 seconds to support the #ProtectWater campaign
Our rivers, lakes, estuaries and coastal waters are home to a wide variety of birds and other wildlife which depend on clean, high quality water, which is also essential for people. Sadly, all is not well with our water ecosystems in Ireland. The quality of our most pristine water bodies continues to decline, while those that are already polluted are only slowly improving. Water-based habitats are also being chipped away through drainage and development.

BirdWatch Ireland is supporting the Europe-wide #ProtectWater campaign to urge the European Commission to protect our water and not to weaken the EU Water Framework Directive, which protects our rivers, lakes, wetlands, and coastal waters. The Commission is coming under massive pressure from EU member state governments to lower water quality standards and reduce protection for vital wetland habitats. We simply can't allow this to happen. (Photo: Kingfisher, a key indicator of water quality, by Ita Martin)
Please, take just 10 seconds to sign our petition to demand that the EU protects our water
Minister Creed disregards scientific advice and allows more overfishing
Commercial overfishing is driving marine life to the brink, contributing to a 70% drop in global seabird populations over the last 50 years and devastating marine life. Vulnerable species such as the Kittiwake (left, photo by Laura Glenister) are struggling to survive.

The 2013 reform of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy included a commitment to end overfishing by 2015, or by 2020 at the latest. More than 55% of North Sea and Atlantic fish stocks are still overfished: at this rate, the 2020 deadline will be missed, and missed badly.

Despite this, at this month's AGRIFISH EU Council meeting in Brussels, Minister Michael Creed T.D. and his EU counterparts agreed to let overfishing continue, flying in the face of scientific advice. It appears that short-term political interests have again been prioritised over the benefits of more sustainable and profitable fisheries, with marine wildlife paying the price.
Read more about our reaction to the outcomes of this month's AGRIFISH meeting in Brussels
Looking for a last-minute gift? Try BirdWatch Ireland membership
Have you forgotten to get a Christmas present for someone this year? If so, allow us to come to your rescue. 12 months' membership of BirdWatch Ireland is the gift that keeps on giving: a special welcome pack, a set of bird identification posters, a new issue of Wings magazine (left) every quarter and, for our family members, our junior magazine Bird Detectives twice a year. Membership also gives access to over 20 nature reserves and more than 450 local events throughout the year.

To sign someone up, simply click the link below, fill out the information and payment details, print off the confirmation page and give to the recipient. We will then send them their new member's pack and first magazine early in the New Year. Problem solved!
Click here for our membership sign-up page and leave all your gift worries behind you
BirdTrack and the Euro Bird Portal: make your birdwatching records count
If you like watching birds, hopefully you already submit your records of all species, common and rare, to BirdTrack, our online bird recording and monitoring portal. Along with our BirdTrack partners we have recently updated the BirdTrack homepage with several new features, including a freshly redesigned front page.

We are also continuing work on the BirdTrack app, which will soon include new functionality, such the ability to add 'Age and Plumage' details to sightings. The usability of the app has also been improved to make it easier and more intuitive to navigate, and together with taxonomy changes will be updated in the next app release.

By submitting your records to BirdTrack throughout the year you will not only be storing your records in a secure place but also increasing their conservation value: as part of the Euro Bird Portal they are pooled with records from other observers across Europe to build a wider picture of the migration patterns, movements and distributions of Europe's birds.
If you go birdwatching this Christmas, make your bird sightings count by entering your records into BirdTrack
BirdWatch Ireland is currently recruiting for two full-time positions as part of our Curlew European Innovation Partnership (EIP) project, aimed at conserving breeding Curlews. One post is that of Ecological Advisor and the other is that of Curlew Conservation Officer. Both posts will be based in south Co. Leitrim, and the closing date for applications is Tuesday 8th January. For full details and to download application forms, please click here.

All of us here at BirdWatch Ireland would like to thank you most sincerely for all of your support during 2018. We are extremely grateful to all of our members, supporters and eWings readers for helping us to protect Ireland's birds and other wildlife. We can't do it without you, and we hope that we can continue to count on your support in 2019.

Please note that BirdWatch Ireland's offices will be closed for the Christmas period and will reopen at 9:00am on Wednesday 2nd January. In the meantime, please share your questions, comments and photos with us via the BirdWatch Ireland Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

Wishing you a very happy Christmas and all the best for the New Year!

Niall Hatch
Public Relations, Branches & Development Officer
  BirdWatch Ireland
Unit 20, Block D
Bullford Business Campus
Co. Wicklow
A63 RW83
Tel: (+353)-(0)1-2819878

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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