Issue 75, December 2015
Welcome to the December 2015 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
With Ireland in the full grip of winter, this might not seem like the time of year to be thinking about nestboxes. These actually perform an important function during inclement winter weather, however: certain vulnerable species, such as Wrens, will sleep in them during the cold nights, often in groups, huddled together to keep warm. The record, set in England a few years ago, is of no fewer than 65 Wrens all ensconced in the same Blue Tit-type box! If you haven't yet cleaned out your nestboxes after the past summer's breeding season, therefore, now would be a very good time.

This is also the perfect time to give the gift of a nestbox to friends and family. Putting up a box in January or February, when many birds will be actively prospecting for potential nesting sites that they can make use of come the spring, will increase the chances of a breeding pair taking up residence. Whether you go for our brilliant state-of-the-art Camera Nestbox System, which sells for €129 (plus P&P), or our flat-pack Build-your-own Nestbox Kit for just €10 (plus P&P), or indeed any other boxes from our extensive nestbox range, you'll be bound to see some happy faces on Christmas morning.
To view the articles and news in full simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each article summary.
What can birds tell us about threats posed by climate change?
With the recent COP negociations in Paris, the global problem of climate change has quite rightly generated a lot of political and media attention of late. As perhaps the best studied group of animals in the world, birds are the ideal messengers for the effects of climate change. BirdLife International and US Partner the National Audubon Society have jointly published a fascinating new report, The Messengers, to highlight this fact. The report gathers hundreds of peer-reviewed studies from around the world illustrating the many ways climate change threatens both humans and birds, but also offering the hope that solutions from nature can help to protect us all from global catastrophe.
Download The Messengers and learn more about birds and climate change (PDF: 23.8MB)
Where exactly do our Purple Sandpipers come from?
Largely thanks to bird-ringing activities, we have a pretty good idea where most of our migrant shorebirds nest. The origins of our wintering Purple Sandpipers, however, had until recently remained a mystery. Now, for the first time, tiny data-loggers called 'geolocators' fitted to Purple Sandpipers on a beach in Co. Clare have revealed that their breeding grounds lie in the east Canadian Arctic. You can find full details of this discovery in this recently published paper.

Purple Sandpipers are a feature of the often rocky, non-estuarine coastline of Ireland in winter and we monitor them through a special periodic survey called 'NEWS', which is taking place this winter. (Photo: Purple Sandpiper by Colum Clarke)
Learn more about Purple Sandpipers in this article from Wings, our members' magazine.
ProStalk Nature Camera: offering you a new view on the natural world
Now here's a very special Christmas gift idea for any nature enthusiasts you may know. The superb new ProStalk Nature Camera is designed to capture both video and still photographs of wildlife remotely, using a motion sensor. It can be affixed to a tree or post and left in place to take images of animals that would otherwise be scared away by the presence of a photographer, and it works equally well during the day and the night. Finally, a chance to see what's really going on out there without disturbing your subjects.
Buy the ProStalk Nature Camera from the BirdWatch Ireland shop for just €190, plus P&P
Doolin Ferry Co. seabird cruise vouchers: the perfect Christmas gift
BirdWatch Ireland is proud to be teaming up with our business patron the Doolin Ferry Co. to offer our most innovative Christmas gift idea yet. We will be running a series of expert-led seabird cruises around the Cliffs of Moher in April 2015, each of which will help to support our vital conservation work. The price is just €25 per person, and our special cruise gift vouchers are available now: a unique present for the nature-lovers in your life!
Please click here for more details and to buy your seabird cruise gift vouchers
A little story from Spring Alive
Spring Alive is an amazing BirdLife project that encourages kids to be interested in and act for nature by teaching them about the wonder of bird migration and more. Every once in a while, our international Spring Alive partners come across a little story that makes us smile, makes us breathe a sigh of hope. A small act that could be easily missed, but which represents something a lot bigger. This story is one of those stories.
Read how Spring Alive broke the spell of witchcraft for some Zambian schoolchildren
The needs of birds and biodiversity must be integrated into climate change emissions reduction plans
BirdWatch Ireland welcomes the climate change agreement reached at COP 21 in Paris last weekend. Nearly 200 nations around the world, including Ireland, have agreed to hold 'the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change'. We will need to decarbonise our world (meaning ending our use of fossil fuels and reduce other greenhouse gas emissions) by 2050 and this will mean significant changes to our transport, agriculture and energy sectors in the next 35 years and beyond. This is a defining moment for our planet and for Ireland and concrete action is critical if we are to reduce emissions urgently. It is vital that birds and biodiversity are integrated into these plans.
Read BirdWatch Ireland's reaction to COP 21 and why biodiversity is key in the fight against climate change
2015 is drawing to a close and Christmas is nearly upon us. Maybe you already have all of your Christmas shopping done and dusted, but if you are anything like me and have left all your gift-buying until the last minute yet again this year, don't fret: the BirdWatch Ireland online shop is here to rescue you. We have a great range of bird- and wildlife-themed gift ideas, including books, bird feeders, binoculars & telescopes, pottery, gift vouchers and a whole lot more. There is bound to be something there that's perfect for the nature-lover in your life.

If you place your order either online or by calling us on 01-2819878 up to noon on Friday 18th December we will be able to ensure delivery anywhere in Ireland in time for Christmas. 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.

If you ask me, the best Christmas gift of all is BirdWatch Ireland membership. Members receive a welcome pack, four 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 online, or if you prefer you can give us a call on 01-2819878.

Wishing you a very happy Christmas and all the best for the New Year,
Niall Hatch, Development Officer
BirdWatch Ireland
Unit 20, Block D
Bullford Business Campus
Co. Wicklow
A63 RW83
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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