Issue 62, November 2014
Welcome to the November 2014 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
We've had a relatively mild autumn, but the weather is finally becoming colder and increasing numbers of birds are seeking refuge in gardens around the country. This is the time of year when thoughts turn to bird-feeding, which is one of the best ways both to help birds to survive winter and to get to know them better. If this is something that you'd like to do, please have a look at our special BirdWatch Ireland bird-feeding factsheet for some handy tips and advice. You'll also notice a bit of a garden bird theme to this month's edition of eWings: they are Ireland's most popular group of birds after all, and it's good to give them the attention they deserve.

This is also the time of year when thoughts turn to Christmas - not long to go now! We still have a limited supply of BirdWatch Ireland's Christmas cards (two different styles: "Robin in Snow" and "Frost and Snow") and our fantastic 2015 BirdWatch Ireland Calendar, but they will be sold out soon - get yours before it's too late. Don't forget that the BirdWatch Ireland online shop is a great source of Christmas gifts too, with lots to choose from for the nature-lover in your life. Alternatively, or to get our own personalised recommendations, you can give us a call on 01-2819878. Remember that by buying from BirdWatch Ireland you are helping to support our vital conservation work, which is a nice Christmas bonus both for you and 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.
Garden Bird Survey starts on Monday 1st December
BirdWatch Ireland's most popular survey is, without question, our annual Garden Bird Survey, and this winter it begins on Monday 1st December. The idea is that, over a 13 week period, we ask people all over Ireland to keep track of the different bird species that visit their gardens. The data that we receive back tells us a great deal about the health of our bird populations and the wider environment: you can read a summary of last year's survey results here. It's really fun to do and you don't need to be an experienced birdwatcher to take part by any means: why not give it a go this winter?

(Photo: Robin, last winter's most frequently-reported Irish garden bird, by Jerry Cassidy)
Download your Garden Bird Survey form and instructions (PDF: 247KB)
Garden Bird Year: our very own garden bird blog
In addition to the ever-popular garden bird section on our website, did you know that BirdWatch Ireland also has its own dedicated garden bird blog? Called Garden Bird Year, it's written by our very own garden bird expert Oran O'Sullivan based on his own experiences in his bird-friendly Co. Wicklow garden. Packed with up-to-the-minute tips and advice, it's a must-read for anyone who wants to discover more about Ireland's garden birds. (Photo: Song Thrush by David Dillon)
Check out Oran's Garden Bird Year blog: bookmark it and check back often for updates
My First Book of Irish Animals - a fantastic children's gift
Books make great gifts for kids. We stock a wide range in our shop, but if you are looking for the perfect children's book this Christmas, we'd particularly recommend the superb new "My First Book of Irish Animals" by Juanita Browne. It is an ideal guide to Ireland's mammals for children aged 7-12, and features gorgeous illustrations by wildlife artist Aoife Quinn, whose work you may have seen showcased recently in our Wings magazine.
Buy My First Book of Irish Animals from the BirdWatch Ireland shop for €13.99, plus p&p
125 NGOs call on Minister Coveney to end to EU overfishing in 2015
Overfishing is one of the biggest threats to our marine environment. On 15 and 16 December, Minister Simon Coveney T.D. will meet with his EU counterparts to decide on the 2015 fishing limits for Atlantic fish stocks. His decision will be taken in the context of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy, which requires him to end overfishing by 2015 where possible and on a progressive and incremental basis by 2020 at the latest.

BirdWatch Ireland has this week has joined with a group of 125 NGOs in urging Minister Coveney to meet the 2015 deadline for ending overfishing. Any delay will simply prolong environmental degradation and economic hardship in the fishing sector. With fewer fish, there can only be less fishing.
Learn more about our call to Minister Coveney to take this chance to end EU overfishing
When feeding birds this winter, please choose high-quality food
Feeding garden birds has become extremely popular in Ireland, which is very much to be welcomed. Be careful when buying your birdfood, however: not all foods and brands are equal, and some may actually do more harm to your birds than good. All of the birdfood supplied by BirdWatch Ireland has been approved by our own garden bird experts and is completely safe to give to your garden birds. Don't forget that when you buy food from us, the birds benefit twice, as all proceeds support our conservation work across Ireland.

(Photo: Blue Tit feeding on peanuts by Cóilín MacLochlainn)
See our range of high quality birdfood, which we can deliver next-day anywhere in Ireland
Real involvement in local government: Public Participation Networks
This autumn, Irish local authorities are asking all local voluntary organisations and groups to come together to form Public Participation Networks (PPNs). At the county/city level these will be the structures that will enable the local communities to engage with the local authorities based on an agreed community vision for the well-being of this and future generations. This vision is to be created by the PPN members early in the life of the PPN.

When registering with their relevant local authority, local groups will self-select into one of three "Electoral Colleges" in the PPN, Community and Voluntary, Environmental or Social Inclusion. It's important that the environment is properly represented and that BirdWatch Ireland Branches and members take this opportunity to have their say. We would encourage anyone who might be interested in participating or who would like more information to get in touch with us: you can email Dr. Sinéad Cummins of our Policy, Communications and People Engagement Team at with any queries.
If you'd like to know more, watch this short video clip which explains what PPNs are and how they will work
If you ask me, the best Christmas gift of all is BirdWatch Ireland membership. Members receive a welcome pack, 4 issues of our print magazine Wings throughout the year (plus our Bird Detectives kids' magazine for family and junior members) and a special free gift, as well access to hundreds of free events all over Ireland. You can take out a gift membership via our online shop, or if you prefer you can give us a call on 01-2819878.

If you are not already a BirdWatch Ireland member yourself, perhaps you could drop some hints to your nearest and dearest that you'd like them to give you the gift of membership for Christmas. You'll really enjoy it, I promise!

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.
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