Issue 54, March 2014
Welcome to the March 2014 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
The days are getting longer, the clocks have just gone forward (you did remember, didn't you?) and spring is already in the air. You may have noticed that birdsong is becoming an increasingly noticeable feature of our early mornings: plenty of birds have already begun to sing as they start to stake out their breeding territories.

The intensity of the birdsong will continue to increase over the coming weeks, until it peaks around mid-May . . . which is when BirdWatch Ireland holds its annual National Dawn Chorus Day. This year it's going to be on Sunday 18th May, and BirdWatch Ireland branches the length and breadth of the country will be holding a wide range of dawn chorus walks and other birdsong events on and around this date. More events are being confirmed all the time: please keep an eye on the BirdWatch Ireland Branch Events page for details of events taking place near you.

Our National Dawn Chorus Events are free of charge and open to all. You don't even have to be a BirdWatch Ireland member to go along . . . though we would love to persuade you to join us and help to support our work. You get a huge amount out of it, including our quarterly 36-page magazine Wings, and by becoming a member you will be supporting Ireland's most effective and hardest-working independent conservation organisation.
To view the articles and news in full simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each article summary.
First "Irish-born" White-tailed Eagle in over 100 years is shot dead
The recent news that one of the first "Irish-born" White-tailed Eagles to take to the skies in over 100 years had been shot dead, only seven months after leaving its nest, caused an overwhelming sense of shame and anger to all who value our natural landscape. The young male was found dead on the eastern shores of Lough Derg last February, its body riddled with some 45-50 shotgun pellets. A post-mortem confirmed that it had survived for several weeks after being shot before succumbing to a slow and painful death.
(Photo: Stefan Jones of NPWS with the dead White-tailed Eagle, by Alan Mee/GET)
Read more about this shameful illegal killing and Ireland's raptor persecution problem
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)
The perfect binoculars for first-time buyers: only €100
Purchasing binoculars can be a confusing experience, especially if you have never bought a pair before. They range in price from €100 to well over €1,000, and to the beginner the differences are often extremely subtle. The new Opticron Adventurer WP 8x42 binoculars offer the budget-conscious or first-time user exceptional quality and value for money, with bright, clear images and a full field of view for spectacle wearers. With National Dawn Chorus Day and many other exciting BirdWatch Ireland events taking place over the next few months, now is the perfect time to get a great pair of binoculars at an unbeatable price.
Buy your Opticron Adventurer WP 8x42 binoculars from our online shop for €100, plus P&P
Vulture-killing drug now available on EU market
Diclofenac is a powerful anti-inflammatory drug that has wiped out vulture populations in India, Pakistan and Nepal. Now, a repeat of this ecological disaster is threatening Europe. Despite the fact that safe alternative drugs are readily available, Diclofenac has been authorised for use on domestic animals in Spain, where 80% of European vultures live, and in Italy, and is now becoming widely available on the EU market. There are fears that this may cause a European mass die-off of endangered and ecologically valuable wildlife. (Photo: Griffon Vulture by Ken Kinsella)
Learn more about the threats posed by Diclofenac to Europe's vulture populations
Irish Government: no financial reason for agricultural scrub removal
Many readers will know that the removal of scrub and other valuable (but non-designated) wildlife habitats is an important issue for BirdWatch Ireland. However, new rules within the new EU regulations governing farmer subsidies now allow such habitats to be left without affecting the area considered eligible for such payments. BirdWatch Ireland welcomes the recent statement by Minister Tom Hayes (Minister of State in the Dept. of Agriculture, Food and the Marine) clarifying that there is now "no reason" to undertake such actions, which may actually result in loss of payments, penalties or fines if such damage is illegal. As always, we ask you to please report any incidents of scrub fires or other large-scale habitat destruction to BirdWatch Ireland by emailing
(Photo: Whinchat, a species highly reliant on scrub habitats, by Stephen Lawlor)
Read BirdWatch Ireland's position statement on scrub clearance & burning (PDF: 332KB)
Candidates sought for two positions in BirdWatch Ireland's Policy Department
BirdWatch Ireland invites applications for two recently-announced positions in our Policy Department. Both jobs will be based at our head office in Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow.

The first is the post of Policy Officer, which will be a full-time contract position that will run from May to December 2014. Applicants for this position should have a detailed knowledge of a range of environmental and wildlife conservation issues, showing specialist expertise in an Irish context. Particular expertise in biodiversity policy and legislation, land use change, planning-related policy and habitats of importance for Irish birds and the effectiveness of the Irish policy and legislative framework is required. The closing date for applications is Friday 4th April 2014, at noon.

The second is the post of Marine & Fisheries Policy Officer, which will be a part-time contract position that will run from May to December 2014. Applicants for this position should have a detailed knowledge of a range of fisheries and marine conservation issues, showing specialist expertise in an Irish context. Particular expertise in fisheries and the effectiveness of the European and Irish policy framework is required. The closing date for applications is Tuesday 8th April 2014, at noon.
Click here for full details of both Policy Department positions and to download the application forms
Bloom, Ireland's largest gardening, food and family event, will be taking place in the Phoenix Park, Dublin from Thursday 29th May to Monday 2nd June. BirdWatch Ireland will be running both an educational marquee for children and families and an information and membership recruitment stand, so please do drop by to see us. We have also arranged a discount for all eWings readers who book their tickets in advance through the Bloom website: during the booking process, if you enter our special promotional code BIRD14 you will save €2 off either the early bird or the advance ticket price. Tickets will cost even more at the gate, so booking in advance is a very good idea.

One quick last message to all of the mums out there, including my own: I hope you had a great Mother's Day yesterday. If you forgot to get your mother a present, a BirdWatch Ireland gift membership would be a great way to get back in her good books. What's more, you can renew it for her each year: that's your Mother's Day present dilemma solved forever!

Yours sincerely,
Niall Hatch, Development Officer
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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