Issue 42, March 2013
Welcome to the March 2013 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
Recognising the important links between nature and a healthy economy and society was the key message of the BirdWatch Ireland photographic exhibition Nature creates prosperity that was on display at the European Parliament in Brussels last week. It was especially timely, given that Ireland, a nation rich in natural heritage, is basing its economic recovery on sectors that depend on nature: agriculture, energy and tourism. Launched by Nessa Childers MEP of the S&D group and organised in conjunction with BirdLife Europe, the exhibition showcased Ireland's spectacular birdlife and highlighted the crucial role that political decisions made during the Irish EU presidency will play in our future prosperity. Please click here for more information about the Brussels exhibition and its messages. Many thanks to all who helped to make it such a success.
To view the articles and news in full simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each article summary.
BirdWatch Ireland & Dublin Port Company launch new waterbird monitoring programme within Dublin Bay
Dublin Bay is among the top-ten most important wetlands in Ireland for migratory wintering waterbirds, with in excess of 30,000 waterbirds spending the winter in the bay each year! Thanks to support from Dublin Port, BirdWatch Ireland is pleased to launch a new project: a three-year programme of counts, observations and specific research focussed on finding out how our wintering waterbirds are using Dublin Bay. We will also be continuing the monitoring of important breeding tern colonies within Dublin Port itself, started by the late Oscar Merne. We kick-started the project last month with a catch of 118 Oystercatchers at Merrion Gates in South Dublin Bay. (Photo: Oystercatcher by David Dillon)
You can find further details about this exciting new waterbird monitoring project here
Spring Alive: tell us when you see a Swallow, Swift or Cuckoo
Spring is here, which means that our returning migrant birds are well on their way. We need all of you to keep an eye out for your first Swallows, Swifts and Cuckoos of the year, and then log them via our Spring Alive website. There, you can also learn more about these remarkable global travellers and track their arrival. The project is ideal for children and teachers, and right now people all over Europe and Africa are taking part, so please spread the word far and wide: we need as many records as possible . . . including yours!
Learn lots more about Spring Alive (and don't forget to add your own observations)
Adventurer Telescope Kit - only €149.00
Although a good pair of binoculars will enhance your birdwatching immensely, there are often times that you need that extra magnification to identify birds or see more detail in their plumage. A telescope offers that advantage but it usually comes at a hefty price, with many telescopes costing from €600 upwards.

BirdWatch Ireland is delighted to offer the Adventurer Telescope Kit for only €149.00. This lightweight and compact telescope from Opticron is a great starter field scope with a zoom eyepiece offering magnification from 15x-45x. It includes a carry case and table-top tripod.
Take your birdwatching to a higher level while contributing to bird conservation in Ireland
"Paint a Fish" and join our call for the restoration of fish stocks
Paint a Fish is a Europe-wide initiative that aims to engage the public in the protection of fish stocks. The campaign has been running since late last year and so far over 25,000 fish have been painted using a special tool on the campaign website. These are then uploaded to create a colourful fish stock that calls on EU leaders to refill our seas by restoring fish stocks to their maximum sustainable yield. This is important because it allows more fish to be caught, which means more and better jobs for fishermen. Another key goal of the campaign is to educate children about sustainable fisheries.
Click to paint your own fish and for details of educational recourses available to schools
Bird Atlas 2007-11: special pre-publication offer
Be one of the first to receive Bird Atlas 2007-11, the most important British and Irish bird book for decades. It's the most complete and comprehensive overview of bird distribution and change in Britain and Ireland, with over 1,300 maps describing patterns of distribution, abundance and change for nearly 300 species. Discover the changing fortunes of our birds and have the latest scientific findings about distribution and change at your fingertips, including chapters telling the atlas story and highlighting the factors influencing our changing bird fauna ... all to be revealed when the book is published in autumn 2013. Order now for €54 (plus €10 P&P) and save a third off the retail price of €84!
Don't miss out on this great offer: order by 31st July 2013 to avail of our special low price
River Bird Survey: looking for your help
As part of an exciting new survey funded by an Environmental Protection Agency Small-Scale Study Grant, BirdWatch Ireland is compiling breeding records of some key river birds. We are looking for records between mid-March and mid-June each year, and from 2004 to the present breeding season. We are focussing our efforts on five iconic river species, namely Kingfisher, Dipper, Common Sandpiper, Sand Martin and Grey Wagtail. These birds are found very different habitats: for example, the Kingfisher occurs mainly in slow-moving low-lying rivers while the Dipper is found in faster moving streams. Your sightings will help improve our knowledge of these species' distribution and allow us to analyse links between water quality and biodiversity. (Photo: Kingfisher by Shay Connolly)
Please click here for more details about our River Bird Survey 2013 and how you can help
Hopes of meaningful CAP reform dwindling after EU agriculture ministers' agreement
European Ministers for Agriculture have now agreed their negotiating position on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), paving the way for the three-way negotiations to begin in April between the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. Despite huge efforts from civil society to have CAP form the basis of a new contract between farmers and society to deliver public benefits, the Council position largely rejects green elements of the Commission's proposal for a reformed CAP.

A minimum spending of 25% of the Rural Development budget on climate and environment measures has been retained, which is at least some good news. BirdWatch Ireland and its European partners have been pushing very strongly on this issue, as Rural Development payments can deliver targeted and effective support to farmers for conservation actions and are essential to facing the challenges of biodiversity loss in farmed landscapes. However, without showing serious progress on environmental performance of CAP payments, the substantial public money paid to farmers though CAP will fail to empower farmers to make the necessary moves to meet the challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change.
Read more about BirdWatch Ireland's concerns over a lack of meaningful CAP reform
The fifth series of the nature documentary Living the Wildlife, which is bringing viewers up close and personal with some of Ireland's most enigmatic wildlife, is currently showing on RTÉ television. The Emmy award-winning wildlife cameraman Colin Stafford Johnson met with John Lusby and our Raptor Conservation team last summer in Cork and Kerry to try to film the nesting behaviour of Barn Owls and to learn more about this iconic species and the research and conservation work being carried out by BirdWatch Ireland. You won't want to miss this programme, which will air on Tuesday 2nd April at 7:00pm on RTÉ One. As well as getting a feel for BirdWatch Ireland's work on Barn Owls, plenty of blood curling screeches, loud snoring, fluffy chicks and rarely-seen high definition footage of nesting Barn Owls in Cork is guaranteed!

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.
Please note that BirdWatch Ireland will never pass your personal details on to anyone else.
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