Issue 45, June 2013
Welcome to the June 2013 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
I'd like to start with a special welcome to all of the new readers who signed up to receive our monthly eWings email newsletter at the Bloom garden show in Dublin's Phoenix Park. We hope that you will enjoy learning more about BirdWatch Ireland's work as Ireland's largest wildlife conservation charity. If you have taken the extra step of becoming a BirdWatch Ireland member, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to you for your much-needed support.

If you happen to be one of the people who, when asked if you would like to join BirdWatch Ireland as a member, promised to "think about it" or "definitely do it later", well, now's your chance! BirdWatch Ireland members recieve four issues of Wings, our quarterly membership magazine, by post each year, plus a very nice membership pack, a set of bird identification posters and a special free gift, as well as get the opportunity to attend over 450 events for free each year, held all over the country.

Individual membership is €40 for 12 months, which works out at less than 77 cent per week or, to put it another way, less than 9 cent per event. That's exceptional value for money, and best of all, that money will be used to benefit Ireland's wild birds and the habitats that they depend on, thereby providing knock-on benefits for a vast range of flora and fauna, and indeed for us human beings too.

Maybe this is your first issue of eWings, or maybe you've already been receiving it for years: either way, if you haven't done so already, we need to convince you to join us as a member today. If you are already a member, please persuade a friend to join too, or perhaps give someone a year's membership as a gift. The more members we have, the better the future will be for Ireland's wildlife.
To view the articles and news in full simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each article summary.
Bird Atlas 2007-11: don't forget our 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 populations in Britain and Ireland, with over 1,300 maps describing patterns of distribution, abundance and change for nearly 300 species. Discover the latest scientific findings about our bird populations and how they have changed ... all to be revealed when the book is published in autumn 2013. Order now for €54 (plus €10 P&P) - after 31st July it will cost you €84!
Don't miss out on this great offer: order by 31st July 2013 to avail of our special low price
Ireland's petrels: iconic wanderers of the world's oceans
At about 27 grammes in weight, the European Storm-petrel is the smallest Irish breeding seabird. By comparison, a Little Tern is a heavyweight at about 40 grammes. If you need a 'garden bird equivalent', think House Sparrow or Greenfinch. This tiny bird probably flies the length of the Atlantic twice a year and can live to be 25-30 years old. Although not often seen, due to the fact that it breeds mainly on remote islands, it is actually one of our commonest seabirds. Astonishingly, it is the bird species for which Ireland holds the highest proportion of the world total: we may support as much as 40% of the global population of this lovely seabird. (Photo: European Storm-petrel by Anthony McGeehan)
Learn more about our mysterious petrels in this exclusive extract from Wings magazine
High quality lightweight binoculars for under €100
All too frequently, compact-style binoculars tend to be far inferior to their full-size counterparts. Recently, however, Opticron has perfected its "smaller, lighter and brighter" approach to compact binoculars culminating in the Trailfinder 3 Compact 8x25 model, which offers an image that is sharper and brighter than many other manufacturers' larger 8x42 offerings. Under 10cm in length and weighing less than 300g, these binoculars are less than half the weight of Opticron 8x42 models and provide a large 6.5° field of view as well as close focussing to under 1.5 metres. At only €99, they are quite affordable, and can easily be carried in your pocket, ensuring you're always ready to go birdwatching!
Buy your Optricron Trailfinder 3 8x25 binoculars from the BirdWatch Ireland shop today
EU legislation to tackle invasive alien species long overdue
An alien species is an organism introduced by humans outside its natural range, and those which cause negative impacts on biodiversity, socio-economic conditions or human health are considered as being invasive. Invasive alien species are one of the five main drivers of biodiversity loss globally, and yet at EU level the current approach to this problem is a patchwork of inconsistent and uneven national legislation to tackle what is, by its very nature, an international problem. EU legislation to address this issue is now long overdue. (Photo: American Mink, one of the most significant invasive alien species in Ireland)
Read more about the serious problems caused by invasive alien species across Europe
Europe failing to protect its oceans and its seabirds
BirdWatch Ireland and its fellow BirdLife Europe partners are very concerned over the failure of most EU countries to declare a comprehensive network of Marine Protected Areas under the EU Birds Directive, something they are each obliged to do within their respective coastal waters, up to a distance of 200 nautical miles from land. This failure puts most European seabird species at risk and delays the urgently needed protection of our marine environment. We are calling upon the European Commission to stop tolerating this unacceptable situation and to start infringement processes against all countries that are breaking EU law. (Photo: Manx Shearwater by John Fox)
Learn about Marine Protected Areas and why it is so vital for EU states to declare them
BirdWatch Ireland's ECO appeal: a new focus on nature education
One of the most common things we hear is that we're all getting older: our members, the birdwatching community and our survey volunteers. "Soon there won't be anyone out there to do the bird surveys," people frequently tell us, and branches worry about "a lack of younger people coming along".

Whether you agree or not with these sentiments, it is clear that they represent perhaps one symptom of what is becoming known as "Nature Deficit Disorder": a lack of nature in our lives leading to a lack of appreciation and enjoyment of it, in some cases affecting our health.

That is why BirdWatch Ireland recently launched its new Educating Communities Outdoors (ECO) initiative. As we mentioned in last month's eWings, this appeal aims to raise vital funds to kickstart a new and determined programme of environmental education and awareness aimed at a broad spectrum of people but, of course, with children and young people at its core.

Getting funding for meaningful, long-term nature-based education is very difficult, so we are appealing to you to support our ECO initiative and help us to establish many new and exciting programmes and projects, such as training for teachers, online nature resources, family events, school outreach and workshops, and much more. With your support, we can take BirdWatch Ireland's education work forward and set about establishing a new generation that doesn't suffer from nature deficit disorder and understands the true value of our natural heritage.
Learn more about our ECO appeal, how you can make a contribution and what we'll do with your money
The Heritage Office of Wicklow County Council, in partnership with BirdWatch Ireland and with the support of The Heritage Council, is running a photographic competition in celebration of the Wetlands of Wicklow. Why not share something that caught your eye, made you think, or made you giggle? Your photo may win a prize and feature in a special wetlands photographic exhibition to be held in County Buildings, Wicklow Town as part of Heritage Week 2013, 17th to 25th August.

The theme of the competition is 'Wicklow's Living Wetlands', and photographs may be taken in any location in County Wicklow. Entries will be categorised by the organisers into the following themes as part of the exhibition: 'Scenic Beauty', 'Wildlife', 'Services', and 'People and Wetlands', and the closing date is Friday 2nd August 2013. You can find full details of how to take part here (PDF: 1.2MB).

One last thing: be sure to check out the BirdWatch Ireland Facebook page and to follow BirdWatch Ireland on Twitter. One of the most interesting features that we run on both of these is our much-loved daily Whoami mystery bird quiz: a great way to hone your bird identification skills from the comfort of your own screen.

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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