Issue 79, April 2016
Welcome to the April 2016 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
This is one of the most exiting times of year for nature enthusiasts across Ireland, with migrants on the move and nesting getting into full swing. But there is one feature of the season that is perhaps celebrated more than any other: the dawn chorus. During the month of May, BirdWatch Ireland branches all over the country will be hosting free public dawn chorus walks, where you can go along and experience this wonderful natural concert in person, in the company of expert guides. You can find more details in the Branch Events section of the BirdWatch Ireland website. New events will be added as and when details become available, so please check back often.

In addition, BirdWatch Ireland is proud once again to be teaming up with Derek Mooney and his team on RTÉ Radio One to bring you the dawn chorus live over the airways on Sunday 1st May from midnight until 6:00am. BirdWatch Ireland contributors will be reporting from locations all over the country and sharing a magnificent morning of birdsong with listeners.

That's not all, however: this year, Derek's dawn chorus show (his 21st!) is going international. Thanks to many of our fellow BirdLife International partners across Europe and to the European Broadcasting Union and its member stations, RTÉ and BirdWatch Ireland will be bringing you the full splendour of the dawn chorus live from locations in Russia, Norway, Poland, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, the UK, Croatia, Finland and Spain. What's more, national broadcasters in many countries right across the continent will be transmitting the programme live to their own listeners. Experts will be on hand to explain what is happening in real time and to shed some light on the hidden lives of some amazing birds. This will be the first time a live dawn chorus broadcast on this scale has ever been attempted.

As in previous years, the star of the show will remain BirdWatch Ireland's own Cuskinny Marsh Nature Reserve in Cork, from where Derek will be coordinating this massive undertaking. It promises to be a truly fascinating experience. For more information, we highly recommend checking out this charming animated video clip.
To view the articles and news in full simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each article summary.
National Hen Harrier survey reveals worrying declines
The Hen Harrier (see our special fact file on the species here) is one of Ireland's rarest birds of prey. Not alone is it a vital part of our natural heritage, it is also a valuable indicator of the health of our countryside. In 2015, a national survey of the species was undertaken by a partnership of the Golden Eagle Trust, the Irish Raptor Study Group and BirdWatch Ireland, on behalf of the National Parks and Wildlife Service. The results have just been published, and have revealed that Hen Harrier numbers have continued to fall: analysis of areas surveyed in both 2015 and 2010 revealed a population decline of 16.4%. Comparison of survey areas covered in all four national surveys estimates an overall decline of one third (33.5%) between 1998-2000 and 2015. The fact that serious declines have been recorded even in designated Special Protection Areas for Hen Harriers (a drop of 26.6% since 2005) is particularly concerning.
(Photo: female Hen Harrier by Shay Connolly)
Read more about the Hen Harrier Survey 2015 and the decline of this iconic species
500 mile walk to highlight the plight of Irish and British Curlews
UK-based writer and producer Mary Colwell-Hector shares our grave concern for the future of Irish and British Curlews: they could be lost as an Irish breeding species within 10 years. To raise both awareness and conservation funds, Mary is currently undertaking an epic 500 mile walk across Ireland and Britain: you can follow her progress on her 'Reflections of a Curlew' blog.

Mary will be stopping en route to give a talk to our Kildare Branch in Clane, followed by a walk to look for breeding Curlews, on 1st May (details here), then to our Meath Branch in Navan on 2nd May (details here). Please do go along and lend your support if at all possible. Mary is requesting that donations be made to BirdWatch Ireland's Cry of the Curlew Appeal: please give as generously as you can.
Make your donation to BirdWatch Ireland's Cry of the Curlew appeal fund
Get ready for the dawn chorus: birdsong CDs now in stock
The ability to recognise birdsongs by ear is something to which many people aspire. It adds an entirely new dimsension to a countryside walk and makes it much easier to locate and identify birds, but the learning process can seem daunting and difficult.

Well, help is at hand! BirdWatch Ireland stocks a range of excellent CDs which will make the process of learning birdsongs much easier. With the dawn chrous about to reach its pinnacle, now is a perfect time finally to get to grips with the songs and calls of our birds.
See the range of birdsong tutorial CDs available now from the BirdWatch Ireland shop
Celebrate summer seabirds with Cliffs of Moher and Doolin Ferry Co.
If you're a seabird lover, we have some real treats in store for you this May on the Co. Clare coast. BirdWatch Ireland will be taking part in the Cliffs of Moher Seabirds Festival, which will run from 13th to 18th May, leading public viewing sessions to showcase the more than 60,000 seabirds which nest on and around the cliffs. Puffins are guaranteed!

During the festival, at 5:30pm each evening from 13th to 16th May we'll also be teaming up with our business supporter The Doolin Ferry Co. to offer a series of seabird viewing cruises with experienced BirdWatch Ireland guides on board. These special cruises will educate and entertain you as you take in the majesty of the iconic Cliffs of Moher and their nesting seabirds. Please email to book your cruise places.
Learn more about BirdWatch Ireland's seabird sessions and other upcoming events
Further evidence of Curlew declines: we need your records
As we've already highlighted above, our Curlew population has declined significantly, and the race is on to save the species from extinction as an Irish breeder. This iconic bird, with its enigmatic cry and distinctive long, down-curved bill, has been steadily disappearing from the Irish landscape as a result of habitat loss, changes in land use, predation and a range of other factors. If you happen to come across any nesting pairs of Curlew, please email the details to Dr. Anita Donaghy, BirdWatch Ireland's Species Conservation Officer. (Photo: Curlew by John Fox)
Learn more about Irish Curlew declines and how you can submit nesting information
BirdWatch Ireland appoints Interim CEO
The Board of BirdWatch Ireland is pleased to announce the appointment of Declan O'Sullivan as CEO of the organisation for an interim period, which began on Monday 18th April 2016.

Declan, who is a Chartered Certified Accountant (FCCA) and also holds an MBA, has worked in a wide variety of senior roles in both the commercial and not for profit sectors, including a term as CEO of the Irish Red Cross. Declan also has extensive experience as an Executive Mentoring Coach with clients including Deloitte and KPMG.
Please click here for more information about the appointment of Declan O'Sullivan as our Interim CEO
Dave Daly is one of Ireland's foremost wildlife artists, and his superb artwork has graced many BirdWatch Ireland publications over the years. Kilmokea Country Manor & Gardens in Campile, Co. Wexford will be hosting a very special evening with Dave entitled Nature in Art on Saturday 21st May, beginning with a private walk around their superb gardens. This will be followed by a reception on the lawn and then a presentation by Dave about his art, inspirations and love of birds.

Advance booking is essential for what is sure to be an extremely popular event, and tickets cost €25 each. All profits will go to BirdWatch Ireland to support our conservation work: we would like to thank Dave and all at Kilmokea Country Manor & Gardens for their kind support. You can find more information and book your place here, or alternatively you can call 051-388109.

Yours sincerely,
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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