Issue 69, June 2015
Welcome to the June 2015 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
Seabird nesting is now in full swing at colonies all around Ireland. Our country is of enormous international importance for seabirds, yet they receive precious little attention when it comes to protection. Incidents such as the recent fire on Ireland's Eye island off the Dublin coast (see below for the full story) highlight just how vulnerable these birds can be and how important it is to ensure their proper protection.

BirdWatch Ireland is running a Save Our Seabirds appeal to raise much-needed funds for the monitoring and protection of Ireland's seabird species. We've produced a special short video which explains more and which is well worth a look: simply click here to watch it on YouTube. Please, help us spread the word and share the video with your friends and family. Please also donate what you can via our secure online donation link.

We're also pleased to announce that it is now possible for you to make donations to our Save Our Seabirds appeal simply by sending an SMS from your mobile phone. Text BIRD to 50300 to donate €4. 100% of your donation goes to BirdWatch Ireland across most network operators. Some operators apply VAT which means that a minimum of €3.25 will go to BirdWatch Ireland. Service Provider: LIKECHARITY. Helpline: 0766805278.
To view the articles and news in full simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each article summary.
Come on, what's keeping you?! Click to Save our Nature now
As highlighted in last month's eWings, the Save Our Nature Campaign has been in full swing since mid-May. eWings is received by over 23,000 people, yet at the time of writing only 2,000 of you have actually clicked to support it and to tell the European Commission to our nature protection laws intact. If you are one of the 2,000, many thanks; if you are not, please do it now. It will take you approx. 20 seconds. Our wildlife needs you to speak for it.

The EU laws in question, the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive, protect areas that are internationally important for birds and other animals, as well as plants and habitats. The European Commission seems determined to destroy them, mainly because there are vested interests that would prefer weaker laws which would make it easier for them to operate at the expense of the environment and of our shared natural heritage.

With three weeks to go until the end of the campaign, over 280,000 people across the 28 EU Member States have sent a message to the European Commission not to do this terrible thing. Please, add your voice to theirs. Make no mistake: if these nature protection laws are opened up for review, they will be drastically watered down, and our Irish nature laws with them.
Make a difference: click to add your voice to our call to save the EU Nature Directives
Book your place on our September course on Cape Clear Island
Spaces are still available on BirdWatch Ireland's popular From Seabirds to Songbirds birdwatching course at our Cape Clear Bird Observatory on Cape Clear Island, Co. Cork. Led by our very own Dick Coombes, this year's course will run from 7th to 11th September and is ideal for birdwatchers of all levels. It will cover a wide range of topics, from the skills to identify, understand and appreciate birds to knowing when and where to find them. A place on the course also makes an excellent gift for any nature enthusiast in your life.
For much more information on our 2015 course or to book your place, please click here
Swifts: we need your records of one of our most remarkable birds
The Swift season is now well underway, and these amazing migrant birds are now filling the skies over our urban areas with their charismatic and much loved 'screams'.

Swifts are in decline and efforts are needed to locate and map their nest sites across Ireland. Your Swift sightings, and particularly records of nest locations, are a key element of our efforts to save the Swift, so please send your records to our National Swift Survey 2015. Records from Dublin can be submitted to our Dublin City Swift Survey 2015.

(Photo: Swift perched by its nest in a wall, by Artur Tabor)
Learn more about the project and get details on upcoming BirdWatch Ireland Swift events
Special offer: get the amazing Bird Atlas 2007-11 for just €49 (plus P&P)
Published in 2013, the landmark Bird Atlas 2007-11 has been acclaimed as the most important Irish and British bird book of a generation. Based on five years of meticulous fieldwork and an enormous effort from volunteer birdwatchers, it provides the most complete and comprehensive overview ever of bird distribution and change in these islands. Over 1,300 maps describe patterns of distribution, abundance and change for nearly 300 species. Previously retailing for €84, you can now snap it up from the BirdWatch Ireland shop for the bargain price of €49, a saving of €35. P&P within Ireland costs an additional €8.
Buy Bird Atlas 2007-11 from BirdWatch Ireland for the bargain price of €49 plus P&P
Dublin City Urban Birds Project
If you are out and about in Dublin this summer, be sure to check out our Dublin City Urban Birds Project webpage. A packed schedule of exciting events and projects in collaboration with Dublin City Council is taking place across the city, offering something for everyone. There is also a wide range of projects for you to get involved in, and we are currently looking for your sightings of Swifts, waterway birds (particularly Kingfisher, Dipper and Grey Wagtail) and urban roof-nesting gulls in Dublin.
(Photo: Grey Wagtail along a Dublin stream, by Shay Connolly).
Learn more about our Dublin City Urban Birds Project and our upcoming events
Fire on Ireland's Eye causes disturbance to birds
Ireland's Eye island off the coast of Howth in Co. Dublin is an internationally important seabird breeding site and a Special Protection Area (SPA) for Cormorant, Herring Gull, Kittiwake, Guillemot, and Razorbill. On June 20th, a fire swept over the highest hilltop on the island right through an area where Herring Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls nest, no doubt scorching nests with eggs. There were lots of chicks there too and BirdWatch Ireland staff who were on the island doing survey work saw many of the larger ones running away, so fingers crossed most of these older chicks at least survived.

The fire made its way down the centre of the island, where pairs of Meadow Pipit, Wren and Reed Bunting nest. Thankfully, it missed out on the main cliff nesting seabird colonies along the north side, mostly thanks to the prevailing wind and lack of vegetation around the cliffs. However, the smoke from the fire was billowing out on to the sea stack and caused considerable distress to the Gannets, many of which were scared off their nests, so these fires may have had an impact on their breeding success.

There is no confirmed source for the fire yet as far as we are aware, but we suspect that it was accidental, perhaps caused by a discarded cigarette or a barbeque lit by day-trippers to the island. Visitors and tourists to our nature sites like this SPA, and indeed any natural area, need to remember to Leave No Trace, to take their rubbish with them and never, ever to put out a cigarette on the ground which could accidently start a fire.
Read the joint BirdWatch Ireland and Irish Wildlife Trust code of conduct for visitors to seabird colonies
If you are not already a paid-up member of BirdWatch Ireland, we would like to ask you to please join up today. Receiving this monthly email newsletter doesn't necessarily mean that you are a member, as many people believe. eWings is sent free of charge to anyone who wants to receive it, and we also continue to send it to lapsed members.

When you become a member of BirdWatch Ireland you get much more than just eWings. You also receive our popular 36-page print magazine Wings in the post four times a year, a welcome pack with a set of bird identification posters and information about our work, and a special free gift to help you learn more about Ireland's birds. In addition, you get to attend as many of our 450 annual local BirdWatch Ireland Branch events as you wish. Family and Junior members also receive Bird Detectives, our acclaimed children's magazine, twice a year. Best of all, by joining you will be supporting the crucial work of Ireland's largest and most effective conservation charity.

BirdWatch Ireland membership runs for 12 months and costs just €40 for individuals, €50 for families and €25 for children and students. Special membership rates are also available for schools, clubs, associations and other groups. There are also great opportunities for businesses to support our work. For more information and to become a member online, please visit our membership sign-up page. You can also join over the phone (and ask us any questions you wish) by calling 01-2819878.

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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