Issue 38, November 2012
Welcome to the November 2012 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
There's a strong garden bird theme to this month's eWings. With the onset of cold winter weather, people all over Ireland are putting food out for their garden birds, so we have prepared a special bird-feeding factsheet, full of tips and advice. Please also give our Garden Bird Survey a go: the information that you send us allows us to work out how Ireland's garden birds are faring helps us to protect and conserve them in the future. Full details on the survey are given below.

You might also like to check out our popular Garden Bird Year blog. It will be continually updated throughout the winter and is the perfect way to get up-to-the minute garden bird care tips and suggestions as the season progresses, so bookmark it today and check back often. You can also keep up to speed via the BirdWatch Ireland Facebook page and BirdWatch Ireland Twitter feed.
To view the articles and news in full simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each article summary.
BirdWatch Ireland's Garden Bird Survey: go on, you can do it!
Do you have a garden? Do you get birds in it? If so, we need your help . . . and it's great fun, we promise. Our annual Garden Bird Survey will kick off again on Monday 3rd December, and we need you to take part. It's very easy: simply keep track of the maximum number of each type of bird in your garden each week up until late February. You can do this either by printing our GBS survey form or by entering your data online.

This year we are also delighted to introduce a special version of the Garden Bird Survey for schools: it makes a great class project and is the perfect wildlife activity for teachers.
Read about last winter's Garden Bird Survey results and see how our garden birds got on
Why not give the gift of a year's BirdWatch Ireland membership?
BirdWatch Ireland membership is the gift that keeps on giving: a lovely garden bird information pack and gift to start with, followed by 4 issues of Wings magazine in the post, (plus Bird Detectives magazine for family members) and the opportunity to attend more than 450 (yes, you read that right!) local BirdWatch Ireland events throughout the year. You'll also be giving a great gift to Ireland's wildlife, as the money we raise through membership is used to fund a huge range of conservation projects.

BirdWatch Ireland has also produced a Beginning Birdwatching Kit that would make an ideal Christmas gift for anyone 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. The kit comes gift-wrapped and with a personalised gift card. It's the perfect present for friends or family, or even for yourself.
Buy BirdWatch Ireland gift membership or our birdwatching kit from our online shop
BirdWatch Ireland Winter Birds Photo Competition
If you like to take photos, why not give the 2012-13 BirdWatch Ireland Winter Birds Photo Competition a go? The winter season brings some unique photographic opportunities: wheeling Brent Geese on amenity grasslands, Whooper Swans on lakes, Wigeon on misty marshes, Waxwings in gardens and towns, or spectacular Starling murmurations - the subject of last winter's winning photo (left) by Edward Delaney.
The top prize is a weekend for two people at the stunning Lake Hotel, Killarney, Co. Kerry. Please see full entry details and requirements here.
Click to see all of the superb winning photographs from last winter's photo competition
Feed your garden birds and enjoy the spectacle!
To attract lots of birds to your garden, you need to provide as wide a range of food as possible. Peanuts appeal to Greenfinches, tits and, if you're lucky, even Great Spotted Woodpeckers (like the one on the left). A quality seed blend in a seed feeder is ideal for finches, tits and Robins, whilst Nyjer seed will attract Goldfinches, Siskins, Redpolls and possibly even Linnets. A ground-feeding blend is perfect for thrushes and finches, and hanging fat balls are also very popular with Starlings, Blackbirds and Robins. BirdWatch Ireland sells all these bird foods in a range of sizes, catering for all types of garden.
Buy your birdfood from BirdWatch Ireland and have it delivered right to your door
First signs of recovery for Asia's critically endangered vultures
Populations of White-rumped Vulture, Long-billed Vulture, and Slender-billed Vulture have declined by more than 99% in South Asia since the early 1990s, prompting BirdLife International to classify all three species as critically endangered. This shocking decline was caused by the veterinary drug diclofenac, a painkiller that is fatal to vultures that feed on the carcasses of cattle and buffaloes that have been treated with it before death. For this reason, the governments of India, Nepal and Pakistan banned its use in 2006, and a long-term study in India and Nepal has now revelaed that the rate of the vulture population decline there has slowed, though populations remain low and vulnerable.
(Photo: White-rumped Vulture by Jonathan C. Eames)
Read more about the plight of Asia's vultures and the efforts underway to save them
European Council set to write blank cheque for harmful agriculture
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is a subsidies programme for farmers that make up a whopping 40% of the entire EU budget: a hefty sum that supports a largely industrialised agriculture and is unfairly distributed. Current negotiations on the future of the CAP were supposed to be about delivering more for Europe's environment, rural communities and long term food security. Despite this welcome and ambitious intent, it now appears that the current destructive business-as-usual agenda will persist. In the hothouse of negotiations, the original drive for reform is being dangerously weakened. On present progress, the result looks likely to be the continuation of the "blank cheques" of long standing agriculture subsidies; an outcome that will be completely incomprehensible to the public.

BirdLife Europe, together with its national Partners and with other environmental NGOs in Brussels, has joined the campaign No Blank Cheques, aimed at making one final call for a greening of the CAP, before it's too late.
Why we need to ensure the viability of EU agriculture by making the CAP greener and fairer for all farmers
Predictably enough, the run up to Christmas is the busiest time of year for the BirdWatch Ireland shop. Many of our customers buy either online or via mail order, but what you may not realise is that you can also drop into our shop in Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow in person to look for that perfect gift: here are the details of how to find us.

The BirdWatch Ireland shop is normally open throughout the year from Monday to Friday, between 9:00am and 5:00pm, but we will also be opening this year between 10:00am and 5:00pm on Saturday 15th and Saturday 22nd December, as well as on Christmas Eve from 9:00am to 1:00pm. As for online orders, these should be placed before 12:00 noon on Thursday 20th December in order to ensure delivery in time for Christmas: you can also order over the phone by calling us on 01-2819878.

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.
© 2012
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