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Issue 114, March 2019
 
   
 
BIRDWATCH IRELAND eWINGS
Welcome to the March 2019 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
Spring is here, migrant birds are coming and going and, on 1st April, BirdWatch Ireland's annual Countryside Bird Survey (or CBS for short) will be kicking off. Over the coming weeks, dedicated volunteers will be out in the field, gathering the crucial data that allows us to assess the fortunes of breeding birds all over Ireland. To everyone who is taking part in the CBS for us this year, our sincere thanks.

Of course, there are lots of other ways in which you can help Ireland's wild birds. One of the easiest and most rewarding is to join BirdWatch Ireland as a member and support our conservation work in that way: our annual membership rates start at €30.

Another thing you can do is to buy your books, bird food, feeders, telescopes and binoculars from the BirdWatch Ireland online shop. As a charity, we rely on nature-lovers like you to help us to conserve and protect Ireland's wildlife.
To view the articles and news below in full, simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each summary.
 
 
ARTICLES
Ireland's wintering waterbird numbers down by 40% in less than 20 years
A new study by BirdWatch Ireland, published in the latest issue of Irish Birds, has found that the number of waterbirds wintering in Ireland has declined by 15% over the past five years. More alarming is the comparison over a longer period: our wintering waterbirds have declined by almost 500,000 individuals (40%) since the mid-1990's, a truly shocking finding.

Wading bird species, including Knot, Dunlin, Golden Plover and Redshank, have been the worst hit, suffering a combined loss of over 100,000 individuals (19%) over the past five years. Wildfowl, including 14 species of duck, 3 species of swan and 4 species of goose, declined by 28,000 individuals (9%). In total, 27 species declined by over 10% over the course of just 5 years, with only seven species managing to increase by more than 10%.

(Photo: Tufted Duck, one of the duck species that has declined massively, by Brian Burke)
Click for more information about the alarming decline in Irish wintering waterbird numbers
Irish Birds Number 41: out now
The new issue of Irish Birds, BirdWatch Ireland's annual scientific journal, is out now. In addition to the paper revealing shocking declines in Ireland's wintering waterbird populations (see above), this issue also contains papers on the remnant Ring Ouzel population in Co. Kerry, the results of last year's Barnacle Goose census, the diet of Barn Owls, the biometrics of Skylarks at airfield grasslands and an account of 19th Century Purple Martin records from Ireland and Britain, amongst a host of other topics. Also included are the latest Irish Rare Bird Report and Irish Ringing Report. Note that if you upgrade to Key Membership of BirdWatch Ireland, you will receive Irish Birds automatically each year at no extra cost.
Buy your copy of Irish Birds from the BirdWatch Ireland online shop for €20, plus P&P
Project Lapwing 2019: help us to record breeding Lapwings
BirdWatch Ireland's Project Lapwing Survey, funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, is calling for the public's help to collect records of breeding Lapwings. This species is in trouble here, following huge declines in breeding numbers in recent decades. If you know of Lapwings nesting in your area, we would love to hear about them.

We are also running a free Lapwing workshop at Lough Boora, Co. Offaly on Tuesday, 16th April, to familiarise attendees with Lapwings, their ecology and breeding behaviour. For details please email rwhelan@birdwatchireland.ie. (Photo: Lapwing by Andrew Kelly)
Learn more about the plight of the Lapwing in Ireland and how you can help Project Lapwing
Spring Alive: please tell us when you see spring migrants returning
Spring has sprung, and the first returning migrant birds are already here. We need all of you to keep an eye out for your first Swallows, Swifts and Cuckoos of the year, as well as, for the first time ever, your first Sand Martins, and then log them via our Spring Alive website, sponsored this year by HeidelbergCement. There, you can also learn more about these remarkable global travellers and track their arrival. The project is ideal for children and teachers, and right now people all over Europe and Africa are taking part, so please spread the word far and wide: we need as many records as possible . . . including yours!
Learn lots more about Spring Alive (and don't forget to add your own observations)
Take part in the all-Ireland roding Woodcock survey
The Woodcock is one of Ireland's most mysterious and captivating breeding birds and, like other wader species, has suffered great declines in the last 40 years. Researchers from University College Cork are trying to find out as much as possible about our native Woodcock, and are calling for volunteers the length and breadth of the country to survey their local woodlands for the unusual 'roding' display of the males in May and June.

(Photo: a male Woodcock performing its roding display at dusk, by James O'Neill)
Learn more about the UCC Woodcock survey and see how you can take part
Climate Committee recommends hedgerow improvement to help tackle climate change
In its report on climate action the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action recommends that the Government takes action to improve Ireland's hedgerows, in recognition of their contribution to climate mitigation and adaptation and their importance to biodiversity.

BirdWatch Ireland made a submission to the committee outlining climate actions that can have biodiversity co-benefits, stressing the need to address declining biodiversity as part of the fight against climate change. We are particularly pleased that our recommendation on the importance of the national hedgerow resource to maximise the biodiversity and climate benefits was included in the final report.

BirdWatch Ireland welcomes this report, which includes recommendations that are nature-based solutions to tackling climate change, and also includes the restoration, rehabilitation and rewetting of peatlands. It is now high time for the Government to take immediate action to make significant cuts to Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions, in order to stem the worst impacts of climate change.
Read more about our reaction to the report from the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action
 
 
FINALLY...
This year marks the 60th anniversary of BirdWatch Ireland's Cape Clear Bird Observatory, which is located on scenic Cape Clear Island off the West Cork coast. We are planning a series of celebrations over the coming months, so please watch this space for more details.

In the meantime, fans of Cape Clear will be pleased to know that we have just published the Cape Clear Bird Observatory Annual Report 2018, which is full of information about all of last year's notable wildlife sightings on the island and which is now available for free download from our website.

Before I go, I just wanted to remind you to check out the BirdWatch Ireland Facebook page and to follow us on Twitter. Both offer great ways to stay informed about our work, to learn more Ireland's birds and to ask us questions about anything at all you like.
See you again next month!

Niall Hatch
Public Relations, Branches & Development Officer
 
 
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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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