Issue 46, July 2013
Welcome to the July 2013 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
Being particularly charismatic, birds of prey (or "raptors") tend to grab their fair share of the headlines: however, this July has been quite exceptional in the number of occasions they featured in the spotlight. Unfortunately, the historic fledging of the first 'Irish born' White-tailed Eagles in over 100 years from their nest at Mountshannon in Co. Clare provided the only positive story among these news items. We apologise in advance for the grim reading which follows, but we feel it is essential to highlight the sinister issues which sadly still exist in our countryside if we are to effectively tackle them.

A recent article in the Limerick Leader publicising comments made by Limerick County Council Cathaoirleach John Sheahan, urging the removal of protection for Hen Harriers and calling for an "open-season" on this Annex I species made for depressing reading and caused shock and outrage amongst conservationists and the general public in Ireland, as well as overseas: please see Birdwatch Ireland's response here.

Ironically, in the same week as the councillor's ill-informed comments, the National Parks and Wildlife Service published its first Bird of Prey Poisoning and Persecution Report from 2011, which BirdWatch Ireland assisted with and which clearly demonstrates the damage caused by such indiscriminate acts of wildlife crime. We also have outrageous news to report regarding a spate of recent shootings of nesting Peregrine Falcons in south Tipperary, which shows beyond doubt that we need to step up efforts to tackle these despicable acts of bird of prey persecution.

Finally, we wanted to give you an update on how some of our widespread raptors have fared the 2013 breeding season, and also to share with you some footage taken this summer by our specialised raptor nest cameras to showcase how magnificent these birds are and how they deserve adequate protection.
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: last chance to avail of 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. You can browse some of the stunning sample pages here.

Order today 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
The class of 2011: wandering Roseate Terns
Rockabill Island, off the coast of Skerries in north Co. Dublin, is home to Europe's largest colony of Roseate Terns. BirdWatch Ireland wardens this colony each summer, so we know a lot about the birds' breeding behaviour, but where do the young birds go until it's time for them to return and become parents themselves? New data has been shedding light on the movements of some of the youngsters from the Rockabill "Class of 2011".(Photo: Roseate Tern by Stephen McAvoy)
Dr. Stephen Newton fills us in on the recent travels of some of Rockabill's Roseate Terns
Peanut butter for birds - smooth or crunchy?
The newest bird food on the market and a real winner with the birds! Made from a rich blend of peanut flour and tallow with added mealworms for that extra crunch! A very clean and easy way to feed birds: simply unscrew the lid and place it in the specially-designed wooden feeder. When empty, recycle the glass jar and open a new one: it couldn't be easier. Please note: peanut butter intended for human consumption is not suitable for feeding to birds due to its high salt content.
Order your peanut butter feeder and bird-friendly crunchy peanut butter for only €15
Birds show us that investing in conservation makes economic sense
Declines in birds across the globe are providing evidence of a rapid deterioration in the global environment that is affecting all life on earth - including people. However, birds also tell us that saving the planet comes at a relatively small price - an investment that's vital to secure our own future.

These are some of the messages in a new report State of the World's Birds: indicators for our changing world (PDF: 4.59MB) by the world's largest partnership of conservation organisations, BirdLife International, which last month launched the report and unveiled its vision for a world rich in biodiversity, where people and nature live in harmony.
Read more about the what we can learn from the current state of the world's birds
From Seabirds to Songbirds: Cape Clear Island birdwatching course
Cape Clear Bird Observatory (left), off the West Cork coast, has been in operation for over 50 years. With stunning scenery and amazing birds, it is the perfect location for our latest birdwatching course with BirdWatch Ireland's own Dick Coombes, which will run from 2nd to 6th September 2013. As Dick says himself, "Birdwatching is something we can all enjoy. Novice or experienced, there's always something new and exciting to learn. Join me for an unforgettable birdwatching experience on Cape Clear this autumn and together we'll explore the world of birds and their exciting journeys on migration."

Now booking: places strictly limited to 12 persons.
Course fee €200; course with accommodation in Cape Clear Bird Observatory €300.
Phone BirdWatch Ireland on 01-2819878 or click below.
Learn more about our "From Seabirds to Songbirds" course and book your place
BirdWatch Ireland makes presentation to Oireachtas committee on new Climate Bill
The beginning of July saw the start of a series of Oireachtas committee hearings on the development of a new Climate Bill. In a formal presentation to the committee BirdWatch Ireland asked TDs and Senators developing the Bill to include provision for nature-based solutions to climate change. For example, restoration and conservation management of peatlands is a pressing priority for mitigating against climate change due to their role in actively absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. However, due to the damaged nature of most Irish peatlands, they are a large net source of carbon.

BirdWatch Ireland also called for the bill to incorporate ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation, such as landscape-scale adaptation strategies for wildlife and catchment-based flood prevention and management. These actions are necessary to compliment the required 2050 target of an 80-95% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that is being sought in the bill. Please read BirdWatch Ireland's position statement on illegal peat cutting for more information.
Read the full BirdWatch Ireland Opening Statement to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht on the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill 2013 (PDF: 700KB)
BirdWatch Ireland's AGM was held on 29th June and saw the publication of our annual report: you can download a copy of the BirdWatch Ireland Annual Report 2012 here (PDF: 586KB)

As a charity, BirdWatch Ireland depends on the support of wildlife-lovers like you. If you haven't already done so, we would ask you to please become a BirdWatch Ireland member and help us to continue our vital conservation work. Members receive 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. 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.

Speaking of the need to ensure a bright future for Ireland's wildlife, please spread the word about BirdWatch Ireland's ECO Education Appeal: we need to impress upon our young people the importance of conservation and to give them a proper opportunity to become enthused about our natural heritage, and the Irish education system is failing us all in this regard. It falls to charities like BirdWatch Ireland to take up the slack, so please do help us.

One last thing: be sure to check out the BirdWatch Ireland Facebook page and to 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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