Issue 55, April 2014
Welcome to the April 2014 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
Bird migration is now well under way, and many of our summer visitors have already arrived. Have you noticed any of them? More specifically, have you seen (or heard) your first Swallow, Cuckoo and/or Swift of the year yet? If so, we need you to log them for us at our Spring Alive website. If not, chances are that you will come across one of them very soon, so please keep an eye out and let us know when you do: every record counts, and it will only take you a few seconds.

One of the key ways that we know that many of our migrant species have arrived is when their songs suddenly join those of our resident songbirds in the dawn chorus. This amazing natural concert, which can be heard all across Ireland, is already a prominent feature of our early mornings. It will continue to grow bigger and better, until it peaks around mid-May . . . which is when BirdWatch Ireland holds its annual National Dawn Chorus Day. This year, it will be taking place on Sunday 18th May, and BirdWatch Ireland branches all over the country will be holding a wide range of dawn chorus walks and other birdsong events on and around this date. Click here for a full list of all our National Dawn Chorus Day 2014 events.
To view the articles and news in full simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each article summary.
BirdTrack - going global!
BirdTrack is our online bird recording system. Many of you have told us that you want to use BirdTrack to record the birds you've seen overseas along with your Irish and British records. Now, with BirdTrack's global data entry tool, you can do just that! This exciting development enables you to record birds you see anywhere in the world, also allowing your European records to contribute to the second European Breeding Bird Atlas. We've also taken the opportunity to make it even easier to add records and have included new site-drawing options. (Photo: Florida Scrub-Jay by Niall Hatch)
Discover more about these new tools and how you can help make BirdTrack even better!
Win a copy of Oileáin, the comprehensive guide to Ireland's islands
The new second edition of Oileáin by David Walsh is a must-read for anybody thinking of visiting any of Ireland's coastal islands. Essential details such as landing, camping, tides and availability of drinking water are all described for each site, and the text is enlivened by photos, many of them by Sean Pierce, well known Fingal birder and sea kayaker. The author's lively anecdotes are especially enjoyable - the one about "Kevin the Killer Kestrel from Kilcoole" is particularly good!

For your chance to win a copy, tell us how many Irish islands are covered in Oileáin. Email your answer to (hint: check out the shop link below).
Oileáin, 292 pages, is available from the BirdWatch Ireland shop for €30.00 plus p&p
Follow the Swallow for only €18
That harbinger of summer, the Swallow, is returning once again from its southern African wintering grounds to spend the summer months with us. Both the Swallow and its close relative, the House Martin, are happy to nest around human habitation. The Swallow usually makes its mud nest inside a shed or roof, whereas the House Martin prefers to nest on the outside of a building, especially at the gable ends of houses. Both species can be encouraged to nest by providing specially-designed nestboxes. You can buy Swallow nestboxes (left) from the BirdWatch Ireland shop for only €18, plus p&p, while our twin House Martin nestboxes (with room for two pairs) are available for only €30, plus p&p.
The BirdWatch Ireland shop stocks a wide range of nestboxes for many different species
Assessing impacts of afforestation on birds: we need your help
ADAPT is a new research initiative led by University College Cork in collaboration with BirdWatch Ireland, through funding from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and the Marine. We aim to assess the effects of forest expansion on bird diversity in vulnerable habitats, in order to inform strategic planning of forest development and to improve our ability to maintain and improve the conservation status of priority bird species. We would really appreciate your help in completing a simple online survey about the perception of forests in Ireland, lasting no more than 10 minutes. (Photo: Merlin by Shay Connolly)
Learn more about our ADAPT research initiative and what we hope to learn through it
Latest CBS results: the Wren really is Ireland's King of the Birds!
Recent analysis of our Countryside Bird Survey data has moved us a step closer to finding out just how many of our common and widespread birds we have. A recent paper published in the journal Bird Study confirms that the Wren really is the Irish King of the Birds: we have more than 6 million of them!

When it comes to our 51 most common and widespread breeding bird species, in total, Ireland is home to more than 62 million individuals. In addition to Wren, our results have put Ireland on the map as also being of greatest importance for Pheasant, Meadow Pipit and Woodpigeon. (Photo: Wren, by Dick Coombes)
Learn more about what our data is telling us about the size of Ireland's bird populations
Announcing the new Bird Atlas Mapstore: over 3,500 online maps, all for free
For the first time ever, more than 3,500 maps showing the distribution, range change and abundance for over 500 different species of bird that have been recorded in Britain and Ireland since 1968 are freely available online through the Bird Atlas Mapstore.

Olivia Crowe of BirdWatch Ireland notes, "This fantastic online resource helps to spread the word about some of the huge changes that have place within our avifauna. We are really excited about its potential as an educational tool, and in raising awareness about the status of birds in Ireland, especially those such as breeding Curlew and Yellowhammer, as well as many others that are in serious need of conservation action."
Learn more about the Bird Atlas Mapstore and what Bird Atlas 2007-11 is teaching us about Ireland's birds
BirdWatch Ireland relies heavily on its members for financial and moral support. We are Ireland's most active environmental charity, working hard all over Ireland to ensure the conservation of Irish birds, habitats and biodiversity, and we need your help. You already know about the good work that we do: please, if you are not already a member, join BirdWatch Ireland today and help us to continue to deliver for Ireland's wildlife.

To our existing members, a word of sincere thanks: we greatly appreciate all you do for BirdWatch Ireland and all that you make possible. Perhaps you used to be a member of ours, but for whatever reason let your membership lapse. If you could please renew your membership for us today, we would be delighted to have you back and very grateful for your support . . . it's never too late!

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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