Issue 41, February 2013
Welcome to the February 2013 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
Have you ever been to a BirdWatch Ireland event? Last year alone, our local branches ran more than 450 events all over the country, from birdwatching walks and dawn chorus mornings to indoor slideshows and conservation training sessions, as well as several "beginning birdwatching" workshops: there's something for everyone, from the expert ornithologist to the complete birdwatching novice. Our events programme for the next three months has just been added to the BirdWatch Ireland website, so why not click here and have a look for upcoming events near you? You'll be glad that you did.

BirdWatch Ireland members will already have received full details of upcoming events in the current issue of Wings magazine: please note the events planned by our Kildare Branch were inadvertently omitted - you can find full details of upcoming events in Co. Kildare here.
To view the articles and news in full simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each article summary.
Do you get Wings magazine?
Wings is BirdWatch Ireland's quarterly membership magazine, and the only way to receive it is by becoming a BirdWatch Ireland member. The Spring 2013 issue was posted out to our members last week. It's packed with birdwatching tips, details of our conservation work and a great competition to win a weekend break in Killarney. There's more: a special feature on the Irish Jay, a photo spread from Shay Connolly (that's his gorgeous Stonechat photo there on the cover), Dick Coombes' acclaimed Spring Diary and Lynn O'Keefe-Lascar's regular wildlife gardening section, to mention just a few.
If you're not already a BirdWatch Ireland member, please click here to join today
Wildlife suffers as illegal poisoning shows no signs of dying out
The recent deaths of two White-tailed Eagles in the south-west have once again raised serious concerns over the continuing incidents of illegal poisoning in this country. Despite changes to the legislation in 2010, which effectively banned the use of poison meat baits, this archaic practice is still being carried out by a small minority in the Irish countryside, with devastating effects for our wildlife. This has to stop.

Photo: The carcasses of the two dead White-tailed Eagles (Valerie O'Sullivan)
Read more about this senseless crime and the shameful scourge of illegal poisoning
Camera Nestbox and feeder system
Have you wondered what's going on inside your nestbox? This Nestbox and Bird Feeder Camera System offers everything you need to get fantastic close-up live images on your TV of garden birds nesting, roosting and feeding all year round! What makes this system so different is that, after the nesting season, you can simply remove the camera and pop it into the supplied Feeder Cam housing. Hang a bird feeder from it and you'll have close-up footage of birds on your feeder. A truly versatile system that can be used all year round!
Buy this superb camera nestbox & feeder system from our online shop for €185 plus P&P
BirdLife International celebrates its 90th anniversary
BirdLife International is the world's oldest international conservation organisation, and it has just celebrated its 90th anniversary. It is a global partnership of national, independent, grassroot bird and nature protection organisations spanning 116 countries, and BirdWatch Ireland is proud to be the official BirdLife partner for the Republic of Ireland. If you are a member of BirdWatch Ireland, you are also a part of the unique BirdLife partnership.
Learn more about BirdLife International and its amazing work over the past 90 years
Urgent international support sought for the Azores Bullfinch
The Azores Bullfinch is a Globally Threatened species that is completely confined to a small part of the Portuguese island of São Miguel in the Azores. Since 2003, this unique bird has benefitted considerably from a highly successful conservation project, initiated and run by SPEA, BirdWatch Ireland's partner organisation in Portugal. Their award-winning project tackles complicated habitat restoration and provides a boost to the local Azorean economy through sustainable ecotourism and employment, benefiting native islanders' livelihoods. (Photo: Azores Bullfinch by Leo Boon)
Learn more about SPEA's ongoing fight to save this special bird from extinction
MEPs voting is good for fish but bad for agriculture
On February 6th the European Parliament voted by a huge majority (502 vs. 137) in favour of an ambitious reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. The adopted changes will help ensure that the way manage fish resources will allow the health and recovery of our seas and fish stocks to happen. This success is largely down to the actions of you, our members and supporters. We have been working hard as part of the OCEAN2012 coalition to encourage our elected MEPs to make the right decisions. It will now be down to Minister Coveney to follow through on the ambitions of the Parliament within the next few months - so we will be keeping the pressure on and looking for your support again!

Meanwhile, there have been some very damaging results from the European Parliament on agriculture: in January 2013, the Parliament's AGRI Committee voted for a position that would take the policy backwards. The position goes against the environment, our health, animal welfare and developing countries. A 2011 Eurobarometer shows that 77% of European citizens want more environmental conditionality attached to CAP subsidies, but this and the concerns of NGOs about how public money is being spent have been ignored. It also goes against the expressed opinions of the other committees in the European Parliament. However, there is still a chance to change this!

MEPs still have the power to vote for change in agriculture policy. In March, the full European Parliament will convene to decide upon its final negotiating position, and the opportunity to prevent a backwards and biased reform must be grasped with both hands. We will be taking action to put pressure on our MEPs to reverse this damage. Keep an eye on BirdWatch Ireland's Facebook page and our Twitter account for actions you can take to make sure the public as well as environmental NGOs are not ignored.
Read more about the regrettable decision of the EP's agriculture committee to take the CAP backwards
Following the success of our recent joint Irish Wetland Bird Survey and Countryside Bird Survey training day in Co. Clare, we are delighted to announce that we will be holding the following additional workshops:

- Saturday 23rd February at the McWilliam Park Hotel, Claremorris, Co. Mayo (CBS & I-WeBS)
- Sunday 24th February at the Lakeside Manor Hotel, Virginia, Co. Cavan (CBS)
- Saturday 2nd March at the Lord Bagenal Hotel, Leighlinbridge, Co. Carlow (CBS)

Both surveys are carried out all over the country, but there are many gaps to be filled. Hopefully these training sessions will produce some new recruits as well as provide an opportunity for existing survey participants to get a refresher and meet other participants. We will also be showing some of the interesting results achieved by these important surveys to date, and each session will also include a field trip to provide easy hands-on experience with the forms and survey methods. Tea & coffee and a light lunch will be provided. To help us plan for numbers, etc., please register your interest by following this link.

The Irish Rare Breeding Birds Panel (IRBBP) is looking for a new secretary. The position is a voluntary one, and it represents a great way for an experienced birdwatcher to use his or her skills to support the conservation of rare Irish breeding birds. You can download full details here (PDF: 129KB).

BirdTrack is a great way to contribute your bird observations to us so that they can help our conservation work. A few months ago we let you know that a mobile BirdTrack App had been launched for the Android smartphone platform, and we are delighted to announce that an iPhone version is now also available. The app is completely free and offers a fantastic way to enter your bird sightings on the go: both iPhone and Android versions are available for download here.

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.
© 2013
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