Issue 90, March 2017
Welcome to the March 2017 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
The Heritage Bill continues to be a major source of concern for BirdWatch Ireland's members and branches. Earlier this month, along with An Taisce, the Irish Wildlife Trust, the Hedge Laying Association of Ireland and the Federation of Irish Beekeepers' Associations, we organised a demonstration outside Leinster House against Section 8 of the Heritage Bill, while senators were debating the bill inside. The legislation being proposed by the Government would essentially weaken the laws that protect breeding birds by extending by a month the legal period during which both hedge-cutting and burning of vegetation are allowed each year.

Our campaign subsequently received a welcome boost in Seanad Éireann when, on 29th March, a Fianna Fáil amendment to limit hedge-cutting solely to roadside hedgerows was accepted by the House, thereby protecting 80% of internal field hedgerows from this activity. While this is certainly an improvement, BirdWatch Ireland still has several serious concerns in relation to the bill. In addition, the issue of upland burning during March has still not been addressed, and we will continue to work on this. Please email Oonagh Duggan if you would like to help us tackle this regressive legislation. You can find more details about our work to oppose the bill here.
To view the articles and news below in full, simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each summary.
Irish Birds Volume 10, Number 3: out now
The new issue of Irish Birds, BirdWatch Ireland's annual scientific journal, is out now. Running to 160 pages, it contains papers on the reintroduction of White-tailed Eagles to Ireland, the disturbance response of Red-breasted Mergansers to boat traffic in Wexford Harbour, the diet of coastal-breeding Ravens in Co. Cork, Whimbrel migrations at North Bull Island and the legacy of Christopher W. Bailey, amongst a host of other topics. Also included are the latest Irish Rare Bird Report, Irish Ringing Report and Rare Breeding Birds Report, plus notes and reviews. Note that if you upgrade to Key Membership of BirdWatch Ireland, you will receive Irish Birds automatically each year at no extra cost.
Buy your copy of Irish Birds from the BirdWatch Ireland online shop for €20, plus P&P
Spring Alive: please tell us when you see a Swallow, Swift or Cuckoo
Spring is now well and truly here, and the first returning migrants have already been seen. We need all of you to keep an eye out for your first Swallows, Swifts and Cuckoos of the year, and then log them via our Spring Alive website. There, you can also learn more about these remarkable global travellers and track their arrival. The project is ideal for children and teachers, and right now people all over Europe and Africa are taking part, so please spread the word far and wide: we need as many records as possible . . . including yours!
Learn lots more about Spring Alive (and don't forget to add your own observations)
2017 National Peregrine Survey
The Peregrine Falcon is undoubtedly one of Ireland's most majestic and impressive wild creatures. This year, our colleagues at the Irish Raptor Study Group, working closely with the National Parks and Wildlife Service, are coordinating a national survey of these spectacular birds of prey. The last such national survey took place in 2002. The aim is to determine the number of Peregrines breeding in Ireland, which involves a minimum of two visits to survey sites (5km squares) during specific time windows (Visit 1: March 18th-April 18th, Visit 2: mid June to mid July). BirdWatch Ireland members possess a wealth of knowledge about birds in their local area, and we are keen to get as many people as possible involved in the survey. If you (or a group of members from your local branch) are interested in taking part, please email survey coordinator Jen Lynch for more information. If you are unable to commit to taking part, you can still submit casual sightings of any Peregrines you see during the breeding season.
Learn more about Peregrine Falcons and how they have been faring in Ireland
New web app to record your sightings of colour-ringed waders
As part of our Dublin Bay Birds Project, BirdWatch Ireland researchers have affixed coloured rings inscribed with unique codes to the legs of 525 waders, with efforts focussed on four key species: Oystercatcher, Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit and Redshank. This is the time of year when many of these birds are on the move, and we are asking birdwatchers to let us know if they see any. Such records allow us to track the movements of these birds, to establish which sites are important stop-overs for them and to identify where they choose to mate and raise young. To make the process as easy as possible, our team has developed a special web app to capture your sightings of these species: please use it to let us know what you find. (Photo: colour-ringed Oystercatcher)
Learn about our new web app and how to report your colour-ringed wader sightings
Living Land: civil society call to fix broken EU farm policy gains ground
BirdWatch Ireland and over 140 other organisations from all over Europe - representing consumers and the food sector, and those working to promote environmental protection, health, and animal welfare - have joined a call for reform of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

The organisations have responded to an appeal by Living Land, a broad campaign which recognises that the EU's agriculture policy is devastating to both our climate and our environment, wiping out wildlife, harming public health, and failing small- and medium-sized farmers as well as rural communities.
Read more about the EU-wide Living Land campaign and how you can lend your support
European Breeding Bird Atlas: help contribute to the biggest bird project in Europe!
BirdWatch Ireland is appealing to people across Ireland to send in their summer bird sightings to help with a landmark project. The European Breeding Bird Atlas (EBBA2) project started small but with big ambitions: to collect data from more than 50 countries, cover 500 breeding species and more than 5,000 50-km squares.

There are just over 50 of these 50-km squares on the island of Ireland, and we need to ensure that we have a complete list of species, along with breeding evidence, for each 50-km square. We are asking anyone who can help to enter their breeding bird sightings, giving levels of breeding evidence, to BirdTrack. For more information, please email Brian Caffrey.
Please click here to view the species gaps for any 50-km square in Ireland and see how you can help
BirdWatch Ireland is seeking a suitably qualified person to join our Conservation Team to provide support to the Shannon Callows Curlew Survey. The post, which will be based at the BirdWatch Ireland Midlands Office in Banagher, Co. Offaly, is an internship position; no salary is available, but free accommodation will be provided. It will operate on a full-time basis between April and August: normal hours of work will be 09:00 - 17:00, Monday to Friday. A willingness to be flexible in availability to work, dependant on weather conditions, is required.

The successful applicant would stand to gain experience of survey methodologies for Curlew and other lowland wet grassland breeding waders, the Shannon Callows habitats, bird data management using Excel, and ArcGIS. In addition, the successful applicant will have the opportunity to gain experience on a broad range of conservation projects, including survey methodologies for other species.

Our office in Banagher is also looking for volunteers to assist with our Shannon Callows Breeding Wader Project. We need people who can give us a minimum commitment of one week and who enjoy manual work outdoors - people with boating skills are especially needed.

For more information on both of these opportunities and to download the relevant application materials, please visit the 'Jobs' section of our 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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