Issue 57, June 2014
Welcome to the June 2014 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.
Cruel attempt to poison Peregrines sparks widespread revulsion
All of us here at BirdWatch Ireland were horrified by the recent callous attempt to poison a family of Peregrine Falcons, one of Ireland's most spectacular birds of prey, in Dalkey, Co. Dublin. Not alone were these protected birds themselves almost killed, but the lives of hill walkers, rock climbers and local children were also put at risk by the cruel actions of the would-be poisoners. This well-publicised incident, which even made the front page of the Irish Times, sadly represents merely the tip of the iceberg: attitudes in Ireland to birds of prey need to change, and change fast. (Photo: Crossing the Line Films)
Read the full story of this criminal and highly irresponsible attepmt to kill the Peregrines
Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition: coming to Ireland
Although now in its 49th year, the world's most prestigeous wildlife photography contest has never visited Ireland . . . until now. From 27th June to 31st August, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition, organised by the Natural History Museum in London and BBC Worldwide, will be coming to The chq Building in the Dublin Docklands. The organisers are giving one lucky eWings reader the chance to win a family ticket to the exhibition. Simply tell us how many photographs will be displayed as part of the exhibition (hint - see the link below): please email your answer to by noon on 4th July. (Photo: "Curiosity and the cat" by Hannes Lochner, South Africa)
Learn more and buy your Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition tickets here
Have a look at how BirdWatch Ireland's tern colonies are faring
Terns are small, graceful seabirds that make spectacular plunge-dives to catch small fish, and Ireland is home to five different breeding species. BirdWatch Ireland is responsible for the protection, management and monitoring of these lovely birds at five key east coast colonies, and these have been a real Irish conservation success story.

Now, in late June, the first tern chicks are hatching, so it is well worth paying a visit to one of the colonies over the coming weeks, either in person or via some of our popular online tern blogs. (Photo: Roseate Tern by Ita Martin)
Learn more about our east coast tern colonies and how to experience them for yourself
SAVE Brasil recognised for outstanding work to save Atlantic forest
The eyes of the world are on the World Cup in Brazil, and there is a huge media focus on South America's largest country. It is most fitting, therefore, that SAVE Brazil, our Brazilian BirdLife Partner, has been awarded this year's Prêmio Muriqui prize in recognition of over a decade of conservation work to protect the remnants of Brazil's Atlantic forest, one of the world's richest and most threatened centres of biodiversity. The award is regarded as one of the most important tributes ever made to environmental actions in Brazil.
Read about this landmark award and SAVE Brazil's work to protect the Atlantic forest
Roof-nesting gulls: please let us know if you see any near you
Regular listeners to the Mooney show on RTÉ Radio 1 will already know all about the the Herring Gull family nesting on the RTÉ studio roof in Donnybrook, south Dublin. Herring Gulls (with silvery backs and pink legs) and Lesser Black-backed Gulls (sooty grey-black backs and yellow legs) have been nesting on rooftops in coastal towns and in Dublin City Centre for many years, but it seems that the habit is spreading and BirdWatch Ireland wants to track it. We are asking you to tell us if you know of any roof-nesting gulls near you. We need a postal address (or GPS coordinates), the type of building (office, factory, residence, church, etc.), the species of gull and whether or not you can see a nest and/or chicks. Please report your sightings to Dr. Stephen Newton, Senior Seabird Conservation Officer, at (Photo: Herring Gull by Darragh Owens)
Have a look at the Mooney show Herring Gull nestcam, streaming live from RTÉ studios
Scientists confirm worst fears: EU Policy on Agriculture is bad for Ireland's wildlife
"The EU failed to stand up to their promises of greening the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)": these are the conclusions of an academic paper entitled EU agricultural reform fails on biodiversity authored by leading European scientists, conservationists and agricultural policy experts, and published this month in the highly respected international journal Science.

Almost 40% of the EU budget, approximately €360 billion, is spent on agriculture, affecting 50% of the EU land area. For many years, scientists and environmental NGOs have been warning that intensive agricultural practices have been destroying habitats, altering ecosystems and causing the extinction of a large number of species, ultimately endangering future EU food security and the health of its citizens.

The value of greening to Ireland is around €2.2 billion over the period from 2015 to 2020. In a written response to a question raised in Dáil Éireann, Minister Simon Coveney stated that the various greening practices will, in the majority of cases, require "no further action" for Irish farmers; that maintaining permanent grassland would impose "no obligation" on individual farmers; and that crop diversification "will have very little impact". Essentially, farmers will not have to do anything additional to get their greening payment in Ireland.

Dr. Alex Copland, Senior Conservation Officer with BirdWatch Ireland, has responded to this statement with alarm: "Although the lack of political support to deliver on commitments to protecting our increasingly threatened environment in the EU is very worrying, Ireland's position, as stated by Minister Coveney, to effectively ignore greening requirements is shocking and short-sighted. Claims about the sustainability of Ireland's agri-food sector must now be questioned, as will the legitimacy of the €2.2 billion of taxpayer's money that is effectively being misappropriated away from its intended objective of supporting farming systems that maintain and enhance our environment and landscape."
Read the full reaction from BirdWatch Ireland and BirdLife Europe to the article published this month in Science
As part of the Dublin City Urban Birds Project, Dublin City Council and BirdWatch Ireland are looking for your help. This summer we need you to keep your eyes to the skies and waterways across the city to look for Swifts and waterway birds, particularly Kingfishers, Dippers, Grey Wagtails and Sand Martins. You can submit your bird sightings to us via the Dublin City Urban Birds Project section of the BirdWatch Ireland website.

We are also appealing for information on the location of Swift nesting sites from anywhere in Ireland for our National Swift Survey 2014.

BirdWatch Ireland will be holding its Annual General Meeting at 12:00 noon on Saturday 28th June 2014, at the Glenview Hotel, Glen of the Downs, Kilmacanogue, Co. Wicklow. All BirdWatch Ireland members are welcome to attend. For more details, please see the Summer 2014 issue of Wings magazine, which all current members should have received in the post.

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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