Issue 84, September 2016
Welcome to the Sept. 2016 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
BirdWatch Ireland is immensely proud to have been involved with RTÉ Radio One's European Dawn Chorus broadcast, which back in May did so much to bring the wonder of birds to radio listeners right across Europe, airing simultaneously in 16 countries: a world-first in natural history broadcasting.

We are also extremely proud that, at a ceremony in Berlin earlier this month, the programme was awarded the Rose d'Or, Europe's most prestigeous broadcasting award, for Radio Event of the Year: a remarkable achievement.

The programme gave millions of listeners across Europe the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate wild birds in a brand new way, something that is extremely helpful in convincing people that wildlife conservation is important and worthwhile.

We are also delighted that the European Dawn Chorus programme showcased BirdWatch Ireland's Cuskinny Marsh Nature Reserve in Co. Cork to such a large international audience, and also highlighted both our own conservation work and that of so many of our fellow BirdLife International partners.

You can watch a video of the Rose d'Or award being presented to Derek Mooney & Dr. Richard Collins of RTÉ and Niall Hatch of BirdWatch Ireland, as well as some highlights from the broadcast itself.
To view the articles and news in full simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each article summary.
Willow Warblers: why are they shifting west?
The Willow Warbler (left: photo by Michael Finn) is a summer visitor to Ireland, and most of our breeding population is now well on its way to Africa. Despite the fact that this bird is little-known to most people, it is actually one of Ireland's most common and widespread breeding birds. Something strange is happening to our Willow Warbler population, however. They have recently become more abundant in Ireland, while they are declining elsewhere, including southeastern Britain. Find out more in an exclusive extract from the most recent issue of Wings, as Dick Coombes and Olivia Crowe investigate.

By the way, the only way to receive Wings, our 36-page membership magazine, each quarter is to become a member of BirdWatch Ireland: please help us to help the birds!
Read our Species Focus on the Willow Warbler, from the Autumn 2016 issue of Wings
East Coast Nature Reserve - volunteer work day
As previously announced on Facebook and Twitter, BirdWatch Ireland will be holding a volunteer work day at its East Coast Nature Reserve at Newcastle, Co. Wicklow tomorrow, Saturday 1st October, from 10:30 to 15:30. The main task will be scrub clearance, removing the brambles and gorse which are encroaching on the fen. If you would like to come along and help out, please give us a call today on 01-2819878.
Get full details here, including a map showing the meeting point (PDF: 702KB)
BirdWatch Ireland - Irish Birds Calendar 2017
Fans of bird photography will be pleased to learn that BirdWatch Ireland's new 2017 calendar is now available. Featuring stunning shots of some of Ireland's most charasmatic birds, taken by some of our finest wildlife photographers, this is a calendar you will be proud to display on your wall. It would also make a perfect present for any nature-lovers in your life. Best of all, all proceeds support our work to conserve Irish birds.
Buy the BirdWatch Ireland Irish Birds Calendar 2017 for just €6.00, plus P&P
Spectacular seabird passage past Cape Clear Island
Cape Clear Island, off the west Cork coast, is of course home to BirdWatch Ireland's well-known Cape Clear Bird Observatory. When the observatory was founded back in the 1950s, its location was not chosen at random: Cape Clear is one of the very best places in Europe from which to monitor migration, and in particular the movements of migratory seabirds. This autumn has been an especially good one for observing seabird passage past the island, as Sam Bayley, our CCBO Wildlife Officer, reports.
Read Sam's thrilling account of an astonishing day's seawatching on Cape Clear Island
Balloon releases - they have to stop
Back in 2012, we warned about the serious problems which balloon releases can cause for wildlife. There appears to have been a significant increase in such releases lately, so we would like to reiterate our concerns. Often carried out with the very best of intentions, the effects can be catastrophic for the seabirds (such as the Razorbill on the left), whales, dolphins, turtles and fish which try to eat the balloons or become entangled in them or their strings. Supposedly "biodegradable" balloons, often touted as an environmentally-friendly option, are anything but, and contribute both to wildlife mortality and to the growing problem of microplastic pollution. Please, if you know of any organisations planning to hold balloon releases, urge them to find a less destructive way to celebrate or commemorate.
Learn more about the problems that balloon releases cause for birds and other wildlife
New Erasmus+ education project launched
BirdWatch Ireland, together with five European environmental organizations and the University of Gdańsk, has just launched a new project entitled "Empowering Teachers and Pupils for a Better Life through Nature" under the EU's Erasmus+ program. As a result, teachers in preschools and primary schools from Poland, Ireland, Czechia, Spain, Slovakia and Macedonia will be provided with innovative, relevant teaching resources, support and training to enable them to deliver an effective bird- and nature-themed programme of learning.

The new project is being led by OTOP (the Polish Society for the Protection of Birds), our BirdLife International Partner in Poland. Not only will the materials prepared in the framework of the project offer educators the teaching methodology, practical guidelines and lessons/activities scenarios but also support teachers' use of interactive, digital technologies in children's education by providing a mobile application for primary school pupils. The international training, to be convened in 2018 in Ireland, will host 60 teachers from all partner countries. The educational materials will be available for all interested educators as open source resources, and a video tutorial will also be provided, aggregating the content of the teacher training in a user-friendly way.
Read more about our new Erasmus+ project and how we hope to increase pupils' environmental awareness
Our colleagues in RSPB Northern Ireland have asked us to let you know about their upcoming Members' Day on Saturday 15th October. It will take place at the newly-opened Seamus Heaney HomePlace in Bellaghy, Co. Derry, and will be a celebration of 50 years of RSPB in Northern Ireland!

BirdWatch Ireland and RSPB Northern Ireland have a long and fruitful history of collaboration and cross-border conservation work, much of which will be featured at the event, and we would like to congratulate our fellow BirdLife International partner on this wonderful milestone. For more information about the Members' Day in Bellaghy and to book a place, please visit the RSPB website.

See you again next month,

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.
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