Issue 88, January 2017
Welcome to the January 2017 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
As this is the first issue of eWings in 2017, we would like to take this opportunity to wish a very happy New Year to all of BirdWatch Ireland's members and supporters. We are very grateful to have you on board, and we wish you all the very best for the year ahead.

So, how are your New Year's resolutions going? If one of your resolutions was perhaps to do more for wildlife conservation, to spend more time outdoors or to get to know Ireland's birds better, a great way to tick all of those boxes is to join BirdWatch Ireland as a member. As Ireland's largest and most active conservation charity, the money you entrust to us is put to very good use, protecting some of Ireland's most vulnerable wildlife.

If you already happen to be a member of ours, why not instead resolve to convince some of your friends and family to join us too? You already know all of the great benefits they will receive, such as Wings magazine, our garden bird welcome pack and access to more than 450 events throughout the year. The more nature-lovers you can convince to join us, the better equipped we will be to fight on your behalf for Ireland's natural heritage.
To view the articles and news below in full, simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each summary.
RTÉ's Eco Eye highlights the plight of the Curlew
Farmland wildlife is on the decline across Ireland, and this has long been a source of grave concern for conservationists. On 10th January last, RTÉ One television broadcast a special episode of its Eco Eye documentary series highlighting this issue, with a particular focus on the problems faced by Ireland's breeding Curlew population.

Featuring contributions from BirdWatch Ireland's Curlew expert Dr. Anita Donaghy, the programme is highly recommended for anyone who would like to get a better understanding of the plight of this iconic bird, and also of how we might still secure its future. (Photo: Curlew by John Fox)
This special episode of Eco Eye is available to view via the RTÉ Player until 9th February
The last of the skydancers
The Hen Harrier (male - left: photo by Mike Brown) faces the threat of extinction in Ireland. It is one of our rarest breeding birds, and it is getting rarer. This may seem like a bleak prognosis: after all, the species is afforded the highest level of legal protection in Ireland, the State is obliged under EU law to ensure that its populations are maintained and enhanced, and a significant body of scientific evidence provides a clear pathway to achieving this. The next steps should be abundantly clear.

Unfortunately, standing in the way is an obstacle just as powerful: the lack of political will.
John Lusby reports on what must be done to save Ireland's Hen Harriers from extinction
The secret lives of Hen Harriers on our hills
The Hen Harrier is one of our most spectacular birds. As highlighted in the article above, it is also one of our most endangered, which, combined with its preference for remote upland areas, means that few of us have ever had the privilege of witnessing the "skydancer" for ourselves.

BirdWatch Ireland has produced a special video to give you a chance to watch these beautiful birds and their amazing courtship displays, to learn about why they are such an important part of our uplands and to understand the challenges they face in an ever-changing landscape. (Photo: female Hen Harrier by Mike Brown)
Click here to watch our Hen Harrier video and learn more about this remarkable bird
Buy your bird food and feeders from BirdWatch Ireland
We have had quite a mild winter so far, but no doubt colder weather will soon be on the way. When it arrives, you should see a significant increase in the number of birds visiting your garden. Providing food and water for them can make a real difference to their survival, and it is also a great way to watch them at close quarters and to learn more about them.

The best way to buy bird food and feeders is, of course, from BirdWatch Ireland. We stock a wide range of garden birdcare products which we can deliver to anywhere in Ireland. Even better, when you buy from us all of the proceeds support our conservation work, so the birds get a double benefit. (Photo: Goldfinches feeding on nyjer seed, by Shay Connolly)
Browse the full range of bird food and feeders available from our online shop
Taking Swift action across Europe
The Common Swift is one of Ireland's most enigmatic birds: easy enough to see during its summertime sojourns in our towns and cities, but hard to get to know well. Lots of work has been taking place, both here in Ireland and right across Europe, to learn more about this fascinating species and to find out how to halt the declines in its population.

RTÉ Radio One's Derek Mooney and BirdWatch Ireland's Niall Hatch have created a radio documentary to shed some light on the life and times of this astonishing creature. From Cork to Warsaw, from Belfast to Baku, this special programme showcases both BirdWatch Ireland's Swift conservation collaboration with Dublin City Council and some of the remarkable work undertaken by local groups across Ireland and by our fellow BirdLife International partners. (Photo: Common Swift by Graham Catley)
Listen online to the special Mooney Goes Wild documentary on the Common Swift
Positions available at BirdWatch Ireland
Advocating for the conservation of birds, their habitats and wider biodiversity in Ireland is a very important part of the work of BirdWatch Ireland. The organisation is seeking a suitably experienced person to join our Policy and Advocacy Team in the role of Policy Officer to further this work. This position is for 3 days per week for 6 months, with a view to extending the position following successful review and subject to funding. The salary will be attractive and commensurate with experience. A full description of the role and the requirements is available here (PDF: 230KB), and you can download the job application form here. The closing date for applications is Monday 23rd January at 5:00pm.

BirdWatch Ireland may also be in a position to recruit for various seasonal posts for the 2017 season, subject to successful tender bids and/or confirmation of funding. The roles will involve carrying out agreed programmes of habitat management, research work or species recovery work, alone or as part of a small team. A description of the possible roles is available here (PDF: 294KB), and you can download the relevant application form here. The closing date for applications is Monday 23rd January at noon.
Visit the jobs section of our website for more details about employment opportunities at BirdWatch Ireland
As you are possibly aware, there is a strain of Avian Influenza (H5N8) that has been found present in wild waterbirds in parts of Europe in recent months and has reached our shores. To date, it has been found in three wild birds since the end of December: two Wigeon and one Whooper Swan. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has urged vigilance, and has asked us to report to them incidences of deaths in wild waterbirds. We would be grateful if you would help us by keeping an eye out this winter, especially if you are near any wetlands where you are most likely to see these birds. If you do come across dead waterbirds, please let the Department know. A list of DAFM offices and their contact details is available here. The DAFM Avian Influenza telephone helpline number is 1890 252 283.

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.
Please note that BirdWatch Ireland will never pass your personal details on to anyone else.
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