Issue 37, October 2012
Welcome to the October 2012 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
I'm delighted to announce this month that BirdWatch Ireland has just launched its brand new and improved, feature-packed, online shop. It is more user-friendly, easier to navigate and products can be viewed in greater detail than ever before. Products such as bird food, for example, can now be viewed in close-up detail enabling you see the actual product before you purchase. You can also take an online peek into many of the books we supply, to help you to choose the right field guide, for example.

Our new shop also features a more streamlined secure payment system which, combined with a more user-friendly customer account facility, ensures online shopping with BirdWatch Ireland is a fast, safe and pleasurable experience. With Christmas fast approaching, why not try our new online shop today and get started on your Christmas shopping? From Christmas cards and camera nestboxes to specialised field guides and bird feeding stations, as well of course as BirdWatch Ireland membership, we can supply all your gift requirements - and remember, by purchasing from BirdWatch Ireland you are actively contributing to bird conservation in Ireland.
To view the articles and news in full simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each article summary.
Reflecting on our raptor conservation and monitoring efforts in 2012
BirdWatch Ireland is very active in the sphere of raptor (i.e., bird of prey) conservation, and 2012 was a particularly busy year for us. There were some low points, but also plenty of positives to take from our Raptor Conservation Project monitoring and conservation work during the year, which saw the introduction of new nestbox and nest basket schemes for Kestrel, Merlin and Long-eared Owl (like the cute owlet on the left), the first such initiative in Ireland. This practical conservation work was just one of the aspects made possible through the funds raised from our recent On a Wing and a Prayer raptor appeal, which received phenomenal support both from our members and the general public.
John Lusby, BirdWatch Ireland's Raptor Conservation Officer, fills us in on a busy year
BirdWatch Ireland welcomes Curlew hunting ban, but it's not enough
Regular eWings readers will be well aware of BirdWatch Ireland's concerns for the future of the Curlew, which is facing imminent extinction as an Irish breeding bird: fewer than 200 nesting pairs remain. We were glad to note, therefore, that the hunting of Curlews here was finally banned by the Irish Government this week in response to fears over the drastic decline in the species' numbers . . . but they will need to do a lot more than that to prevent its extintion as an Irish breeder. Habitat loss is the main reason for this iconic bird's decline, and immediate agri-environment support for good land management to improve nesting conditions is what the Curlew needs most of all. (Photo: Brendan Shiels)
BirdWatch Ireland calls for much more to be done to save our breeding Curlews
Squirrel Survey 2012 - keeping track of Reds and Greys
In 1911, six pairs of Grey Squirrels were released in Co. Longford. Over the past 101 years the species has expanded its distribution and is now present in at least 26 counties. As it spreads, a number of effects have been noted, including a marked decline in our native Red Squirrels and extensive damage to broadleaf trees through bark stripping. A new all-Ireland survey of both squirrel species is now underway in order to chart their current distributions and, in particular, to determine if the Grey Squirrel has crossed the Shannon. (Photo: Red Squirrel by Andrew Kelly)
Dr. Michael Carey updates us on Ireland's squirrel situation and explains the new survey
It's time to order your BirdWatch Ireland Christmas cards
Christmas is just around the corner, so now would be a good time to buy your Christmas cards. If you buy them from BirdWatch Ireland you will be helping to support our vital conservation work, and by sending them to your friends and relatives you are helping to promote our work and introduce people to the wonderful world of birds.

This year we have two new lovely themed packs of Christmas cards on offer, featuring wonderful photographs of Irish birds: "Winter Birds", consisting of Hen Harrier, Merlin, Red Grouse & Golden Plover, and "Robins", depicting four different Robin scenes. Each pack contains 12 cards, three of each design, and costs just €6, plus P&P.
Don't wait until they're all sold out - order your BirdWatch Ireland Christmas cards today
BirdLife International: new e-Atlas of Marine Important Bird Areas
In global terms, seabirds are now the most threatened group of birds. They present unique conservation problems, since many species travel thousands of kilometres across international waters, only returning to land to breed. BirdLife International's new e-Atlas of Marine Important Bird Areas, the first global inventory of important sites for the conservation of migratory seabirds, represents a major contribution to marine conservation. It covers 3,000 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) worldwide and is the result of six years of effort. It promises to be a key resource for management of the oceans for years to come, and will show the wider marine community the benefits that can be achieved when data are shared for conservation purposes. (Photo: Wandering Albatross by T. Martin)
Learn more about this landmark publication and how it will help the world's seabirds
Irish environmental NGOs join forces to call for an end to balloon releases
The number of balloon and Chinese lantern releases in Ireland appears to be on the increase. These visual displays can have long-lasting and far-reaching effects on our environment. BirdWatch Ireland, the Irish Wildlife Trust, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group and the Irish Seal Sanctuary would like to remind those considering balloon & lantern releases that these frequently have direct negative consequences for wildlife and the environment.

While these displays are often carried out in celebration, Ireland's leading wildlife charities are urging the public to think about the potential consequences, and consider alternatives instead. Balloon latex can take up to twelve months to degrade in the marine environment and has been found in the stomachs of whales, dolphins, turtles, sharks and birds. Chinese lanterns have been responsible for death and injury to domesticated and wild animals alike, along with causing injuries to humans, presenting a fire risk, and wasting resources when mistaken for emergency flares at sea.

Debbi Pedreschi, spokesperson for the coalition, said "Releasing balloons or lanterns is essentially 'pretty littering' and there is no excuse for not thinking about the consequences. What goes up must come down; fragments, strings and wires contaminate the environment, and cause animals to become entangled or even to choke to death. We urge the public to stop releasing balloons and lanterns; there are far more environmentally friendly ways to celebrate, or commemorate, without risking the safety of our wildlife."
Learn more about the problems that balloon and lantern releases cause for birds and other wildlife
If you haven't already done so, please do join BirdWatch Ireland today - as a charity, we really need your support. Members receive a welcome pack, 4 issues of our print magazine Wings each year (plus our Bird Detectives kids' magazine for family and junior members) and a special free gift, as well access to hundreds of free events all over Ireland. You can join online via our secure web shop, or if you prefer you can always give us a call on 01-2819878 instead. If you are already a member, don't forget that membership also makes a great gift for friends and family.

The best way of all to join, however, is by direct debit: it gives you an extra 3 months' membership free and saves us money which then goes to fund our conservation work. We would also like to encourage existing members to switch over to direct debit payment: simply email to request a direct debit payment form from us. It genuinely makes a big difference for us.

One last thing: don't forget to like the BirdWatch Ireland Facebook page and follow BirdWatch Ireland on Twitter.

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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© 2012
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