Issue 15, December 2010
Welcome to the December 2010 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
In light of the current severe cold spell, this month's issue of our "freeze-zine" (sorry!) is a special one dedicated to helping you to help our birds. The good news is that provided birds have enough food and water, are not disturbed and can find shelter, they can survive very low temperatures indeed. We all have a role to play here, and there are many things that we can do to make life much easier for them.

Freezing conditions this early in the winter are very unusual in Ireland. Birds will have no choice but to use up their natural food supplies much earlier than would normally be the case, and this may lead to severe shortages later in the winter. Please do keep feeding your garden birds throughout the season, and be sure also to provide water for them: you will find some helpful pointers in the lead article below. You can also get regular, up-to-date advice on the BirdWatch Ireland Facebook page, as well as ask us specific questions and share your own experiences with others, so please become a fan today.

While there are many things that we can to do help the birds in our gardens and around our homes, we should also think of other birds: only a small percentage of Ireland's bird species actually visit gardens, and our woodland, farmland, wetland and coastal birds are also struggling to survive. It is vital that they are left to find food in peace and can rest as much as possible to conserve energy, so we would ask all birdwatchers, walkers, photographers, hunters, dog owners and other people out enjoying the countryside to avoid disturbing birds wherever possible.
To view the articles and news in full simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each article summary.
Helping garden birds to survive cold weather
The current cold spell is making life hard for our garden birds. As temperatures drop, so the birds need to eat as much high energy food as possible to try to keep warm. Fortunately there are many ways to help them, and we've put together a special factsheet with advice on what you can do.
(Photo: Goldfinch in the snow by Shay Connolly)
See how you can help your garden birds survive the cold weather
Giving wetland birds a break
Freezing weather affects all wildlife, but wetland birds are amongst the hardest hit. When lakes, ponds and marshes freeze over, the food they need becomes very hard to come by. That means they must either conserve energy in the hope that conditions improve or search for small unfrozen areas where they can still feed. As a result, they might suddenly appear to be more tame or turn up in strange places. In such conditions it is more important than ever for birdwatchers and other countryside users to avoid disturbing them.
Photo: Lapwing on a snowy lawn by Dick Coombes
Learn more about the problems freezing weather causes for our wetland birds
BirdWatch Ireland appoints Chief Executive
BirdWatch Ireland, Ireland's largest nature conservation NGO, is pleased to announce the appointment of Alan Lauder as its Chief Executive. Alan will take up the post in January 2011, and will be based at BirdWatch Ireland's headquarters in Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow.
Read more about Alan Lauder's appointment as BirdWatch Ireland's Chief Executive
Give the gift of birdwatching with our new Beginning Birdwatching Kit
BirdWatch Ireland has produced a special Beginning Birdwatching Kit that would make an ideal Christmas gift for anyone who is interested in wildlife. It contains everything a budding birder needs: a high-quality pair of binoculars, a field guide, a bird-finding guide, a birdsong book & CD and lots more, plus a year's membership of BirdWatch Ireland, which of course includes 4 issues of our Wings magazine throughout the year. The kit comes gift-wrapped and with a personalised gift card.

If you prefer, you can instead give a standard gift membership of BirdWatch Ireland: rates start at just 25 euro and all proceeds go to support our conservation work.
Order the BirdWatch Ireland Beginning Birdwatching Kit now for 199 euro, including P&P
All Ireland Conference on Bird Conservation 2011
The 44th Annual All Ireland Conference on Bird Conservation, run jointly by RSPB Northern Ireland and BirdWatch Ireland, will look at "landscape conservation", its benefits and how to go about it. Entitled "Building a Better Future for Wildlife and People", the conference will throw out ideas on how a more holistic approach to conservation will benefit not just wildlife, but society in general.

The conference will run over the course of three days from the evening of Friday 25th March to the afternoon of Sunday 27 March 2011, and the venue will be the Hilton Templepatrick Hotel, Co. Antrim.
Learn more about the 2011 All Ireland Conference on Bird Conservation and book your place
If you are looking for feeders or food for your garden birds, a wide range of tried and tested products is available from BirdWatch Ireland's online shop and items can be delivered anywhere in the country.

We also still have plenty of BirdWatch Ireland Christmas cards in stock. By sending these to your friends and family you'll be helping us both to raise funds and to spread our message, and we have 5 beautiful new card designs this year. You can purchase the cards from our online shop for only 5 euro per pack of 10. You can also support us by buying the 2011 BirdWatch Ireland calendar, produced by our Clare Branch and priced at 7 euro.

Lastly, I would like to wish all eWings readers a very happy Christmas and a bird-filled New Year and to thank you most sincerely for helping Ireland's birds survive through the winter.

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Good Bird Watching,
Oran O'Sullivan, Chief Operating Officer, BirdWatch Ireland
BirdWatch Ireland
Unit 20, Block D
Bullford Business Campus
Co. Wicklow
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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