Issue 80, May 2016
Welcome to the May 2016 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
Ireland's hedgerows don't get the respect that they deserve. One of our most important wildlife habitats, not to mention a stunning visual feature of our countryside, for many foreign visitors they are THE defining feature of the Irish landscape. Shamefully, despite this, they are all too often hacked and/or burned during the summer months. The consequences for nesting birds are clear to see, but perhaps less obvious is the effect on Ireland's dwindling insect-life: the very same insects upon which we depend for the pollination of our crops and wildflowers.

Under the Wildlife Acts 1976-2010, hedge-cutting and scrub-burning is banned from 1st March to 31st August each year. However, a quick walk or drive almost anywhere in Ireland during the summer months reveals that this law is very poorly enforced indeed, and is all too often completely ignored.

This summer, BirdWatch Ireland is aiming to keep track of as much illegal hedgerow destruction as possible. We would ask our eWings readers to please notify us of any suspected illegal destruction of hedgerows or scrub by emailing the details (including the location and, if possible, some photographs) to us at

We also want to help showcase the beauty of Ireland's hedgerows. If you happen come across an example, say, of a hedge in full bloom or an especially picturesque roadside scene, please take a photo and tweet it to @BirdWatchIE using the hashtag #hedges4ever. We'll share the best examples on both the BirdWatch Ireland Twitter feed and on the BirdWatch Ireland Facebook page, and we hope also to feature some of your photos in the next issue of Wings, our quarterly membership magazine.
To view the articles and news in full simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each article summary.
An urgent appeal for records of breeding Curlews
The Curlew, formerly such a familiar and widespread feature of the Irish landscape, is now sadly one of our most threatened breeding bird species: there are now thought to be fewer than 200 nesting pairs remaining in Ireland. We are appealing to members of the public to please keep an eye out for nesting pairs of this critically endangered species this summer and to report them via email to Dr. Anita Donaghy, BirdWatch Ireland Senior Conservation Officer. (Photo: Curlew in flight, by Andy Parnell)
Learn more about the plight of this iconic bird and the information we need from you
Over 11,000 citizens call on EU to improve nature law implementation
The time for waiting is over: people throughout Europe are 'Nature Alert' and are calling for action to protect and better implement the EU's nature laws. On Monday 15th May more than 11,700 people sent a clear message via Thunderclap to European Commissioner for the Environment Karmenu Vella and EU Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans, calling on the Commission to improve implementation of EU nature laws.

The call came in the form of 24 separate Member State actions on social media, including one from BirdWatch Ireland supporters. (Photo: Bee-eater by Javier Milla)
Read about this landmark call for action and the need for better nature law enforcement
Have you got the bug yet?
This time of year isn't just great for observing birds; it's also the perfect time to take a keener interest in Ireland's wonderful insect life. In addition to a great range of insect identification swatches, the BirdWatch Ireland shop also now stocks a fantastic new insect tower (left), which makes a great home for a host of beneficial garden insect species. The tubes at the top are designed for solitary bees, such as Red Mason Bees, to lay their eggs. There is also a floor with vertical slots to encourage butterflies, a section with openings for ladybirds and lacewings, and other insects will happily take refuge within the pine cones.
Buy your insect tower from the BirdWatch Ireland shop today for just €29.00, plus P&P
Summer 2016 issue of Wings magazine is out, but for members only
All BirdWatch Ireland members should recently have received the Summer 2016 issue of Wings magazine in the post. This issue features wildlife-friendly gardening tips, our Roseate Tern conservation work on Rockabill Island, our Knockadoon Head reserve in Co. Cork, a species profile of the Great Skua, our popular View from the Farm Gate column, a birdwatching guide to the turloughs of Co. Roscommon, and lots, lots more.

If you would like to receive a copy, there's only one way to do so: that's to become a BirdWatch Ireland member.
Read Dick Coombes' Summer Diary, an exclusive extract from this issue (PDF: 807KB)
A Blooming good time in the Phoenix Park
Bloom, Ireland's premier garden and food festival, will be taking place in Dublin's Phoenix Park from 2nd to 6th June. If you're going along, make sure to stop by one of our BirdWatch Ireland stands to say hi, ask our experts some questions, pick up some posters and pin badges and renew your membership: we'll be hosting both a garden bird information stand in the Grand Pavilion and our outdoor family fun marquee in the Conservation Zone. Don't forget that all eWings readers can avail of a special €2 discount when booking Bloom tickets online by quoting the promotional code BIRD16.
Learn more about what's planned for Bloom 2016, and save by booking your tickets now
Have your local Swifts returned yet? Don't forget to log them with Spring Alive
The enigmatic Swift is one of our very last summer migrants to return, with the bulk of them returning here to breed during the month of May. Their characteristic screaming calls and high, circling flights are key features of summer for many urban birdwatchers.

As in previous years, we're asking as many of you as possible to please let us know the date on which you saw or heard your first Swifts of the year (and your first Swallows and Cuckoos too) via our special Spring Alive migration project, which now, thanks to the BirdLife International partnership, operates right across Europe, Africa and Central Asia. Every record counts, so please do log your sightings for us today, and please also spread the word to your friends and family.
Visit the Spring Alive website to log your own Swift, Swallow and Cuckoo sightings
We announced recently that BirdWatch Ireland is one of the key partners in a new EU LIFE project to improve the conservation prospects of the Roseate Tern, a European priority species, across Ireland and the UK. Thanks to the funding received under this project, BirdWatch Ireland is now able to expand its conservation efforts for this gorgeous seabird at its two Co. Dublin breeding sites: Rockabill Island in the north of the county, and the Dalkey Islands in the south.

To celebrate this and to help to spread the word about these special birds, we will be running a series of Dalkey Tern Watch events at Coliemore Harbour, Co. Dublin each Tuesday evening this summer, between 5:00pm and 8:00pm. These events are being led by our new tern warden, Andrew Butler, with assistance from the South Dublin Branch of BirdWatch Ireland. The first of these Dalkey Tern Watch sessions (which are completely free of charge and open to all) will take place tonight, Tuesday 24th May.

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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