Issue 87, December 2016
Welcome to the December 2016 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
The issue of hedge-cutting and upland burning remains a thorny one. Regular eWings readers will know that BirdWatch Ireland is most concerned by proposals contained in the Heritage Bill 2016 which would extend the season during which cutting and burning would be permitted - this could spell disaster for already-threatened species such as Curlew and Yellowhammer.

Our campaign against these proposed legislative changes is ongoing. At the time of writing, the bill is before Seanad Éireann but has yet to be voted on by that house. We hope to give you a further update in the New Year, and will of course continue to campaign against any date extensions. Many thanks for your support on this.
To view the articles and news below in full, simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each summary.
A Victory for Nature: huge public campaign saves EU nature laws
BirdWatch Ireland is thrilled to announce that our EU nature laws have been saved, following an epic two-year campaign by conservation groups across Europe.

Earlier this month, EU President Jean-Claude Juncker and his Commission confirmed that the EU's flagship nature laws - the Birds and Habitats Directives - will remain in place and will neither be rewritten nor weakened, as had been initially proposed, ending two years of uncertainty over the laws' future. The Commission has also called for a plan to better implement and enforce these laws.

This is a win for the record half-a-million people, including 8,000 people from Ireland, who called on the Commission to save and enforce these laws as part of the Europe-wide #NatureAlert campaign. (Photo: White-tailed Eagle by Michael Finn)
Learn more about this landmark victory for nature protection across the European Union
Looking for a last-minute gift? Try BirdWatch Ireland membership
Have you forgotten to get a Christmas present for someone this year? If so, perhaps we can come to your rescue. 12 months' membership of BirdWatch Ireland is the gift that keeps on giving: a special welcome pack, a set of bird identification posters, a new issue of Wings magazine (left) every quarter and, for our family members, our junior magazine Bird Detectives twice a year. Membership also gives access to over 20 nature reserves and more than 450 local events throughout the year.

To sign someone up, simply click the link below, fill out the information and payment details, print off the confirmation page and give to the recipient. We will then send them their new member's pack and first magazine early in the New Year. Problem solved!
Click here for our membership sign-up page and leave all your gift worries behind you
Misleading Tipperary Star Buzzard article could cause untold damage
BirdWatch Ireland has raised its serious concerns over a highly misleading and misinformed article featured in the Tipperary Star earlier this month, making outlandish claims that, amongst other things, Buzzards pose a threat to pets in the county.

Such misinformation and negative sentiment towards birds of prey is unfortunately nothing new, and the illegal shooting and poisoning of Buzzards and other raptors has sadly become a serious problem in many parts of Ireland. We are heartened, however, to note that many readers of the newspaper sprang to the defence of Buzzards and that the incident has brought increased national focus onto this important conservation issue. (Photo: Buzzard by Eddie Dunne)
Find out more about the Tipperary Star article and BirdWatch Ireland's response to it
IUCN Red List: identifying the world's most endangered birds
This month saw the publication of the new International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of the world's bird species. It has revealed that wild populations of many popular cagebird species, such as Grey Parrot, are at imminent risk of extinction, due mainly to illegal and unsustainable trapping for trade. There is more encouraging news for several rare unique (or "endemic") island bird species, such as the Azores Bullfinch and the Montserrat Oriole, which have responded well to conservation actions.

As part of the Red List assessement, BirdLife International has also completed a taxonomic review of the world's birds, leading to the recognition of 742 new bird species, including the Gran Canaria Blue Chaffinch (left: photo by Miguel Angel Peña Estévez).
Read more about the new IUCN Red List and how bird species are faring globally
Keep your eyes peeled for garden woodpeckers this festive season
Our annual Garden Bird Survey is now well underway. Although we will not receive the final results back until after the survey has concluded in February, we have already had several people reporting Great Spotted Woodpeckers from their gardens.

The spread of this formerly absent species over the past decade has been one of the most signficant Irish ornithological happenings of recent times, and as the core populations in southeastern Leinster increase we expect that this charming bird will turn up at more and more garden feeders. If you see any in your garden this winter, please do let us know by emailing or, better still, by including them on your Garden Bird Survey Form. (Photo: Great Spotted Woodpecker by Oran O'Sullivan)
Read about the woodpecker found by our very own Oran O'Sullivan in his Wicklow garden
Life on the Edge: Seabirds and Fisheries in Irish waters
BirdWatch Ireland remains steadfast in calling for the sustainable management of Ireland's fish stocks. Our recently-published report, Life on The Edge, provides the background to some of the key issues and concerns we have regarding management of fisheries and protection of seabirds in Irish waters.

With mixed outcomes from this year's December Council in Brussels, in 2017 BirdWatch Ireland will continue to urge Minister Michael Creed to listen to the science and set sustainable catch limits for all stocks. He must provide justification for any decisions not to listen to the science, including the longer-term impact on the health of fish stocks and the social and economic well-being of coastal communities.

For updates on our marine and fisheries policy work please follow @BirdsMatter_ie #CFPReality #RespectTheLimit
Read more about our Life on the Edge report and the importance of sustainable fish stock management
On Saturday 3rd December, we held a special BirdWatch Ireland branch workshop at the Bloomfield House Hotel in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. 32 branch volunteers participated, representing a total of 15 branches, and a wide range of important issues relating to branch events, communications and fundraising were discussed, with branches sharing their recommendations, experiences and best practices at what was a most productive gathering.

Many thanks to all of the branch personnel who gave up their time to attend on the day, and to staff member Brian Caffrey for organising the workshop. We would also like to extend our special thanks and appreciation to Tom O'Callaghan and all of the volunteers from our Westmeath Branch for their kind assistance in organising and running the event.

One last thing: in last month's edition of eWings we ran a competition to win a copy of Gordon D'Arcy's superb new book, The Breathing Burren, published by The Collins Press. We asked you to tell us in which Irish county the Burren is located: the answer, of course, is Co. Clare.

We received lots of correct entries, and our lucky winner, drawn at random, is Robert Hill from Faithlegg, Co. Waterford. Congratulations, Robert - your book will be on its way to you very soon.

Wishing you all a very happy Christmas,

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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