Issue 44, May 2013
Welcome to the May 2013 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
When it comes to the future of conservation in Ireland, education is key. Indeed, it is perhaps the most vital factor of all in the protection of our flora and fauna, yet it is an area where Ireland really falls down. We lag far, far behind so many other European countries when it comes to wildlife education, and the problem is getting worse.

If the children of today don't feel engaged with nature or have a proper understanding of how the things that happen in their environment directly affect them, their health and their wellbeing, how can we expect the politicians, parents and teachers of tomorrow to value our natural heritage and to understand the need to preserve it? We already suffer from a huge lack of understanding amongst decision-makers about why nature is so important, leading to widespread disregard for the stark and urgent warnings for our own species that wildlife declines signal.

As Ireland's largest conservation charity, BirdWatch Ireland needs to do something about this, but we can't do it without your help. We need you to lend your support to our new ECO Education Appeal so that we can bring environmental education opportunities to as many people in Ireland as possible: not only to children, but to teachers, families, local communities and people of all ages and from all walks of life. You can learn more in our headline story below about what is involved and how you can help. Please do help.
To view the articles and news in full simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each article summary.
BirdWatch Ireland ECO Appeal: Education in the Community
BirdWatch Ireland is launching a major new education initiative to help reconnect children and communities across Ireland with nature. Through our ECO Appeal, as we are calling it, we hope to raise €55,000 to put in place a new education and awareness programme and to fund environmental information resources for schools, families and local communities. We need your help: please read about our plans and then make whatever donation you can afford, either online or by calling us on 01-2819878. We appreciate your support.
Learn more about our ECO educational appeal and how you can make a contribution
National Dawn Chorus Day - Sunday 19th May
BirdWatch Ireland's annual National Dawn Chorus Day is without question the most popular date in our events calendar. There is something about birdsong that really strikes a chord with people, and with good reason: it can be a truly magical experience.

This year, BirdWatch Ireland branches all over the country will be holding guided dawn chorus events on and around this coming Sunday, 19th May: please follow the link below for the full listing. All are free of charge and open to all, so why not come along and see what all the fuss is about? (Photo: Chaffinch, a true dawn chorus star, by Clive Timmons)
Find full details of upcoming BirdWatch Ireland birdsong events in your part of the country
Special Opticron Discovery 8x42 binocular offer: one week only!
These full-size, yet pocketable, binoculars are Opticron's most popular model. Using an ultra-compact optical design, the Discovery 8x42 model is amongst the smallest waterproof roof prism binoculars available. Just 5" in height, they deliver 42mm objective performance in a body the size of many 32mm models. Focussing to under 2 metres, they are ideal for watching butterflies and dragonflies as well as birds. We are delighted to offer them to eWings readers at the special price of €199 (normally €230) for one week only!
Buy your Optricron Discovery 8x42 binoculars from the BirdWatch Ireland shop today
Join us at Bloom 2013 in the Phoenix Park
Bloom, Ireland's largest gardening, food and family event, will be taking place in the Phoenix Park, Dublin from Thursday 30th May to Monday 3rd June. BirdWatch Ireland will be running both an educational marquee for children and an information and membership recruitment stand. We have also arranged a discount for all eWings readers who book their tickets in advance using the link below: if you book online and enter our special promotional code BIRD13 you will save €2 compared to the gate price.
Book in advance for Bloom 2013 and avail of your eWings discount by using code BIRD13
The first "Irish" White-tailed Eagles in over 110 years
The news that a pair of White-tailed Eagles has hatched chicks at a nest near Mountshannon, Co. Clare marks a major milestone for the project to reintroduce this magnificent bird of prey to Ireland. These are the the first Irish-born White-tailed Eagles to hatch in over 110 years. A second pair, in Killarney National Park, also hatched chicks a few days later. The return of the White-tailed Eagle was facilitated through a reintroduction project initiated by the Golden Eagle Trust in which Norwegian eagles were first released in Killarney National Park in 2007. (Photo: White-tailed Eagle by Valerie O'Sullivan)
Read more about this landmark event for bird of prey conservation in Ireland
BirdWatch Ireland on BBC Newsnight discussing Agriculture Policy reform
Hosting the presidency of the European Council, Ireland has a key role in the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The presidency must respond to calls for CAP to maintain a healthy natural environment through incentives that stimulate sustainable farming practices. Reform cannot wait any longer. BirdWatch Ireland is calling on the Irish Presidency to implement a number of positive solutions that are on the table to improve supports farming to support nature. Now is the time to address the mounting challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change. Ireland, at the helm of the presidency, is throwing away a critical opportunity to improve the extent to which this major policy will work to deliver the common target of sustainability.

Against this background, BirdWatch Ireland was recently invited to contribute to a BBC Newsnight feature on the issue. You can watch the piece online here, and you can also read a BBC News feature about the issue here.
Read BirdWatch Ireland's briefing on Common Agricultural Policy reform (PDF: 674KB)
It has been a late start to the spring, with the country blanketed in snow during that first weekend in April when the Countryside Bird Survey (CBS) began. Unfortunately, conditions since haven't improved greatly, and we have been inundated with reports from our survey participants and from the public about the remarkable lack of birds and birdsong. But the CBS must go on. For those of you who are taking part, please note the mid-way point is now upon us. We hope your second visits between mid May and end of June are a little more active bird-wise!

BirdWatch Ireland is seeking to recruit a Sensitivity Mapping Officer to progress a programme of work devised to deliver a consolidated Avian Sensitivity Map for Ireland. The consolidated Bird Sensitivity Map for Ireland will have several layers and will be GIS based, and it will be specifically designed to facilitate ease of use and accessibility for a range of users. Please click for more information about the position and details of how to submit an application.

BirdWatch Ireland is also seeking to recruit a Conservation Case Work Intern for a 6 month period to assist with its policy and advocacy work. The successful applicant would stand to gain experience in researching and compiling responses to a range of developments throughout Ireland. You can find full details of this exciting internship opportunity here. The closing date for applications for both positions is Monday, 20th May 2013.

On Saturday June 8th the Lord Mayor of Dublin will launch a "BioBlitz" as part of a national event held in association with the National Biodiversity Data Centre. The event will be held in St. Anne's Park and the North Bull Island Biosphere on 7th June (5.30pm to 10:00pm) & 8th June (8:00am to 5.30 pm). BioBlitz aims to get people out to explore nature and discover a wide range of species of flora and fauna in their locality. BirdWatch Ireland is delighted to be involved and will have a team of bird experts on hand to help with identification and to highlight the remarkable birdlife of Dublin city. You can find more details about the event here (PDF: 111KB).

Have you seen your first Swallow, Swift or Cuckoo of the year yet? Don't forget that we need you to 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!

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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