Issue 91, April 2017
Welcome to the April 2017 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
All too often here in Ireland, respect for wildlife is sorely lacking. For far too many of our politicians and decision-makers, it seems at worst to be an obstacle to progress or an enemy to be defeated, and at best an inconvenience or an afterthought. Irish nature deserves better than this. Putting aside its beauty and intrinsic worth for a moment, its benefits to agriculture, to tourism, to clean air and water, to mental health and to the wellbeing of every person on this island need to be much better appreciated.

This is where you come in. There is no point feeling powerless or shrugging and thinking there is nothing that can be done: that is simply not true. If you value and appreciate Irish wildlife and if you believe that our Government needs to do a much better job of protecting it, say something! A great way to start would be, right now, to sign up to our Living Land campaign, which is calling for more sustainable and environmentally responsible EU agricultural rules. It will only take you a few seconds, and your voice will make a difference.

If the current Government proposals contained in the Heritage Bill to weaken protection for nesting birds by an unwarranted extention of the dates for hedge-cutting and scrub-burning make you angry, do something about it! Write to your local TDs and tell them that you expect them to stand up for Irish wildlife when the bill is voted on in Dáil Éireann.

There is one more thing you can do: become a member of BirdWatch Ireland today to support wildlife conservation in Ireland and to add your weight to our voice.
To view the articles and news below in full, simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each summary.
Living Land: please take just 30 seconds to lend your support
The European Commission is currently preparing the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which will decide the future of Europe's food and farming systems. It has launched a major online public consultation in which everyone can participate.

If you are reading this, we really need YOU to participate. It will only take you 30 seconds and it will make a real difference. We have created a special online tool to allow you, quickly and easily, to send a pre-prepared official submission to the European Commission.

The deadline for submissions is 2nd May, but why wait? Your name, email address and a few clicks are all it takes, so please do it now, for wildlife, for our countryside and for a sustainable future for food and farming. (Photo: Linnet by Neil O'Reilly)
Join over 140,000 people across Europe and raise your voice for a Living Land now!
Carnage in our mountains and hills, yet silence from our Government
This spring has seen another spate of illegal and out-of-control gorse and heather fires bringing carnage to our mountains and hills. Make no mistake - these fires have a very negative impact on our wildlife but they have also destroyed infrastructure. Despite significant media and public attention and calls for these fires to stop, the Government has been completely silent in response. The Heritage Bill is an example of legislation actively undermining the basic legal protection afforded to breeding birds. Members of the public need to let their public representatives know that the protection of nature is important and urgent. (Photo: Frog killed in a scrub fire, by Ian Vickery - Bantry Fire Brigade)
Read more about the threats posed by scrub-burning and by Section 8 of the Heritage Bill
Adventurer T WP Porro Prism Binoculars
Opticron Adventurer porro prism binoculars offer the budget-conscious or first-time user excellent quality and value for money. Suitable for general wildlife observation, the porro prism design of the Adventurer series delivers a superior 3D viewing experience compared to roof prism binoculars. Available in both 8x32 and 8x42 specifications, these superb binoculars are a real bargain at just €120, plus p&p.
Browse the full range of binoculars available from BirdWatch Ireland's online shop
Will you protect a penguin?
Penguins are the most threatened groups of seabirds after albatrosses. Competition with fisheries, becoming caught in fishing nets, marine pollution, disease and climate change: all are factors pushing this iconic group of seabirds towards extinction. Urgent action is needed to better protect breeding colonies, designate and manage Marine Protected Areas, and advance better fisheries management.

BirdLife Partners across the globe are already working to tackle some of these threats, but the size of the challenge demands that efforts are redoubled. That is why the BirdLife Partnership, of which BirdWatch Ireland is a proud member, is launching a new global campaign to raise public awareness of the plight of penguins and funds for vital penguin conservation work across the globe and to secure a brighter future for these unique birds.

(Photo: King Penguin by Matías Romano)
Please, donate what you can and help to protect a penguin today
Cape Clear Bird Observatory: open for business
Cape Clear Bird Observatory, located on beautiful Cape Clear island off the West Cork coast, is back open again and ready to welcome visitors and staying guests up to mid-November. The "Obs" is a great place to stay on this wildlife-packed island, and BirdWatch Ireland members can now avail of a discounted rate. May and June are great months to visit the island, both for spring bird migration, with the chance of something extra special, and for Basking Sharks, whales and dolphins. It is also the perfect place to enjoy peaceful walks, good food and beautiful scenery. For more information and to book accommodation please email us or call us on 01-2819878. You can also keep up to date with all the happenings at the observatory on Twitter: @CCBOIE.
Learn more about BirdWatch Ireland's Cape Clear Bird Observatory and plan your visit
Breeding Woodcock Survey
The UCC Ornithology Group is looking for your help with its Breeding Woodcock Survey. Recent data from the Bird Atlas suggests that the range of our Irish population has contracted. This survey aims to determine the current distribution of breeding Woodcock and to provide a baseline against which future changes can be compared. The survey records the number of roding, i.e., displaying, males in an area of woodland.

To get involved, please click on the link below or email the survey coordinator Jessica Perrott directly.
For more information or to get involved with the survey, please click here
This is traditionally the time of year when birdwatchers' thoughts turn to birdsong, and specifically to the dawn chorus. Throughout the month of May, BirdWatch Ireland branch volunteers the length and breadth of the country are planning a superb programme of dawn chorus walks . . . plus a few dusk chorus walks too, to suit those of you who are perhaps not so fond of early starts!

All of our branch birdsong events are free of charge and open to all. They are not just for dedicated birdwatchers: you do not need to know anything about birds to enjoy their role in nature. For full details of what our branches have in store for you across Ireland, please visit the Branch Events section of our website.

Dawn chorus fans are also in for a treat in the early hours of Sunday 7th May, when RTÉ and BirdWatch Ireland will once again be joining forces, along with fellow BirdLife International Partners and European Broadcasting Union members, to bring you the award-winning International Dawn Chorus programme. Derek Mooney and his team on RTÉ Radio One will be hosting a live celebration of birdsong, spanning from India to Iceland, Malta to Norway and many points in between, and of course with a special focus on Ireland. Tune in between midnight and 6:00am on Sunday 7th May to hear what all the excitement is about.

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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