Issue 18, March 2011
Welcome to the March 2011 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
The evenings are getting longer, there's blossom on the trees, and soon it will be time to welcome back our summer migrants. I'm sure that many of you will be watching eagerly for your first Swallows and Swifts of the year, or indeed keeping an ear out for your first Cuckoos, and we need you to tell us when they arrive: the new season of our popular Spring Alive project is just starting, and you can find more details below.

Before we get onto that, though, I'd like to start with a quick reminder that the 44th Annual All Ireland Conference on Bird Conservation will be taking place from 25th to 27th March. Run jointly by BirdWatch Ireland and RSPB Northern Ireland, the venue this year is the Hilton Templepatrick Hotel in Co. Antrim and a fantastic selection of speakers and field trips has been lined up. It's going to be a great event, with substantial discounts for both BirdWatch Ireland and RSPB members, so if you are interested be sure to book your place today to avoid disappointment. Hope to see you there!
To view the articles and news in full simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each article summary.
The Burning Issue
The destruction of hedgerows and other scrub habitats has become a worrying feature of our spring landscapes. Farmers, widely tasked with the protection of the countryside, are being forced to remove non-forage habitats or be penalized through reduced subsidy payments. As Alex Copland, BirdWatch Ireland's expert on farmland birds, argues, "These habitats are likely to be very important refuges for biodiversity in the wider countryside. Their value needs to be recognised, so that they can be protected."
Photo: Whitethroat, a species which suffers due to scrub destruction (Mike Brown)
Learn about the law on hedge and scrub removal and what you can do about it
Spring Alive: time to put your migrants on the map
Many of you will already be familiar with our annual Spring Alive project, where, along with our fellow BirdLife International partners, we ask people across Europe (and, since 2010, Africa too) to watch out for returning migrants and then add them to our animated map. The site is particularly popular with kids, and this year is full of new online games and classroom resources, but records are needed from adults too.
Learn about the Spring Alive species and let us know when you see them: it's simple!
Volunteers wanted now for CBS
Did our resident birds take a serious knock in last winter's cold weather? Will Blackcaps continue their steady increase? These are questions the Countryside Bird Survey (CBS) hopes to answer. Fieldwork for this popular survey kicks off again on 1st April and runs till 30th June. Volunteers to carry out two early morning counts in this period are needed now.
Learn more about the Countryside Bird Survey and see if you can help us
Looking for a great Mother's Day gift? BirdWatch Ireland can help
Mother's Day falls this year on 3rd April. For a perfect present, why not choose from our wide selection of bird-themed pottery and kitchenware by Emma Bridgewater? All the pottery in this wonderful range is individually handcrafted and much sought-after by collectors as only a limited number of each design is produced. Brighten up the kitchen this Mother's Day and help support bird conservation in Ireland.
See the full range of Emma Bridgewater giftware available from our Wings online shop
Cape Clear Bird Observatory Courses: book your place today
As we mentioned in last month's issue of eWings, the popular field courses which we run at the BirdWatch Ireland Cape Clear Bird Observatory on Cape Clear Island, off the West Cork coast, have been expanded this year to offer something for everyone.

Since last month we've added even more courses, covering a wide range of topics: everything from beginning birdwatching and learning about biodiversity to photography and moth-trapping. Courses vary from two to five days in length and each combines both indoor and outdoor sessions, allowing you to make the most of your time on this beautiful island.
Get details of all our 2011 Cape Clear Courses and book your place online
These are tough financial times for all of us, and funding for Ireland's environment and natural heritage has taken a severe battering. Now, more than ever, we need your help to conserve Ireland's birds and the habitats upon which they, and a whole host of other wildlife, depend: there is no better way to do this than by choosing to become a BirdWatch Ireland member today. Members receive our quarterly Wings magazine, as well as a special membership pack and gift and the opportunity to take part in a huge number of events all over the country and visit our wonderful nature reserves.

Don't forget that you can also find us on Facebook and contribute to our online community there: it's a great place for discussions, bird feeding and photography tips and friendly chat about birds. You can even take part in our daily bird identification quiz, a great way to hone your birdwatching skills.

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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.
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