Issue 40, January 2013
Welcome to the January 2013 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
A very happy New Year to all of our eWings readers. We've been receiving lots of calls and emails from people concerned over the effects of the current cold weather on their garden birds. Freezing conditions can spell disaster for birds, as food and water become hard to find, but the good news is that we can all do something to help. With this in mind, we have produced a special factsheet on feeding garden birds (PDF: 194KB), and you can also check out our Garden Bird Year blog, where you will find up-to-the minute tips and advice. You can also share your own tips with other garden bird enthusiasts via the BirdWatch Ireland Facebook page, and don't forget also to keep and eye on BirdWatch Ireland's Twitter feed.

No doubt many of the photographers amongst you have been taking advantage of the weather to capture some stunning wintery bird scenes. If so, don't forget to enter your best images in the BirdWatch Ireland Winter Birds Photo Competition: simply click here for all the details.
To view the articles and news in full simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each article summary.
Free "Ireland's Seabirds" poster with the next issue of Wings
Wings is BirdWatch Ireland's quarterly membership magazine, and the only way to receive it is by being a BirdWatch Ireland member. As a special thank you to all of our members, the Spring 2013 issue of Wings (due out next month) will come with a free poster showcasing Ireland's spectacular seabirds. You won't want to miss this one so, if your membership is due for renewal, be sure to renew now. If you are not a member, well, we have a cure for that: please join us today and enjoy a whole range of membership benefits. You already know the vital work we do; as a charity, we can't do it without your support.
Take out (or renew) your BirdWatch Ireland membership today: you'll be glad you did
Trichomoniasis: finches and other garden birds hit hard by disease
Since 2005, BirdWatch Ireland has received reports of birds suffering from a disease known as Trichomoniasis (also sometimes called Trichomonas). Reports of sick birds increased up until 2009, and since then reports of infected birds have remained at a steady but low level. However, this winter has seen a renewed increase in the reports of birds suffering from this disease, with the Greenfinch (left) being the hardest hit.
Learn more about this disease and the steps you can take to reduce its impact
January: the perfect time to put up nestboxes for garden birds
Although winter is still very much upon us, now is the ideal time to put up nestboxes for your garden birds: it gives them plenty of time to find and get used to them. Blue Tits in particular will go 'house hunting' on fine January days and can often be seen popping in and out of nestboxes to check their suitability, even though they won't actually begin nesting until April. BirdWatch Ireland stocks a wide range of nestboxes suitable for a variety of birds, from Blue Tits, Robins and House Sparrows to more unusual species such as Grey Wagtails, House Martins and Swallows. Buying your nestboxes from us ensures you get the correct design for each species and helps fund wildlife conservation in Ireland.
See the full range of nestboxes available from the BirdWatch Ireland online shop
The Art of Bird Identification: a talk by Killian Mullarney
BirdWatch Ireland's West Cork and Cork Branches are delighted to welcome Killian Mullarney to the Cork International Airport Hotel on Friday 1st February 2013 to give a talk entitled The Art of Bird Identification: a forty-year perspective on birding and field guides: doors open at 7:00pm for an 8:00pm start. Killian is one of the foremost bird artists of our time and an authority on the subject of bird identification, and he will be speaking about the advancements in bird identification over the last forty years. Entry is €5 (€7 for non-BirdWatch Ireland members) and free for children under 14.

There will also be a raffle on the evening, with the first prize being an original sketch of a Curlew by Killian. Raffle tickets can be bought online for €5 each, or €15 for a book of 5: please e-mail, stating the quantity of tickets required, your address & phone number. You will then receive a PayPal invoice, and when this has been paid, you will receive an e-mail confirming the ticket numbers that have been entered into the draw. The raffle is only open to Irish residents. All funds raised from ticket and raffle sales will help fund wild bird education and conservation projects in Co. Cork.
Get full details of Killian Mullarney's talk in Cork and the raffle prizes that are up for grabs
"Nature creates prosperity": our EU Presidency photo exhibition
Last Monday saw the launch of Nature creates prosperity, the beautiful and thought-provoking photographic exhibition that has been designed jointly by BirdWatch Ireland and BirdLife International to highlight our policy demands during the Irish EU Presidency, to benefit both wildlife and people. It is being hosted by the European Commission at its offices on Dawson St. in Dublin city centre and will run until Friday 8th February. The exhibition is open on weekdays and admission is free and open to all. Following its run in Dublin, the exhibition will move to the European Parliament building in Brussels and will subsequently be showcased at other venues here in Ireland.
For more details, download our Nature creates prosperity exhibition brochure (PDF: 330KB)
A possible birdwatching resolution for 2013...
If you're stuck for ideas, then please read on! We will be hosting a joint Irish Wetland Bird Survey and Countryside Bird Survey training day on Saturday 2nd February near Shannon, Co. Clare. We hope to show you that taking part in important bird monitoring schemes such as these can be a whole lot of fun, while at the same time contributing significant data that informs science and policy not only in Ireland, but also at an international scale.

We will kick-start the day with a few brief presentations where we'll provide some tips and advice on what these surveys are all about and what you need to participate. We'll show you some of the key results to date, and finish off with a field excursion where we can put it all into practice. There will be plenty of opportunities for questions and discussions. Tea & coffee and a light lunch will be provided.
Please click here for further details and to register your interest
If you are a novice birdwatcher and happen to be in the Dublin area, you might be interested to know that our South Dublin Branch will be running a special birdwatching for beginners session at Booterstown Marsh, Co. Dublin on Sunday 10th February at 10:00am. The event is free of charge and is designed for complete beginners, so no prior knowledge of birds or birdwatching is required. To ensure that all participants get the maximum benefit, the course will strictly be limited to 15 participants, so it is essential that book your place in advance: to do so, simply call Seán Hogan of our South Dublin Branch on 086-8206665.

Before I sign off, I have a couple of "save the date" announcements to mention. Our National Dawn Chorus Day is without question our most popular event of the year, and this year it will be held on Sunday 19th May. BirdWatch Ireland Branches all over the country will be holding dozens of free guided birdsong walks on and around that date, and full details will be published in eWings closer to the date.

The same weekend (Friday 17 to Sunday 19 May; slightly later in the year than usual), the annual BirdWatch Ireland & RSPB Northern Ireland All Ireland Conference on Bird Conservation will be held at the beautiful La Mon Hotel & Country Club on the outskirts of Belfast. The theme of the conference is 'Connection' and will highlight how our natural heritage has shaped our culture. The booking form and programme of events are currently being finalised: for more details, please contact RSPB Northern Ireland.

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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