Issue 94, July 2017
Welcome to the July 2017 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
Do you fancy yourself as a wildlife photographer? If so, we need your winter photos to grace BirdWatch Ireland's official 2017 Christmas cards! This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase your images, and every BirdWatch Ireland Christmas card sold will both contribute valuable funds to support our work and also introduce potential new members to our organisation.

What is more, this year we have decided to make a competition out of it: the three winning entries will each receive a €50 gift voucher for our BirdWatch Ireland shop. The closing date is 30th August 2017, and the decision of our judges is final. Please send your entries to us at - best of luck!
To view the articles and news below in full, simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each summary.
BirdWatch Ireland hosts a birding tour for Princess Takamado of Japan
On Sunday 9th July, BirdWatch Ireland was both delighted and honoured to host Her Imperial Highness The Princess Takamado of Japan, who serves as Honorary President of the global conservation partnership BirdLife International, on a birdwatching tour around the islands off the coast of North County Dublin.

Princess Takamado, who is a very keen birdwatcher and a highly accomplished nature photographer, having heard of the rich bird life of our capital city and its environs, had expressed an interest in seeing and photographing Puffins and other seabirds during her visit to Ireland. BirdWatch Ireland therefore was very pleased to organise a day of activities for the princess, showcasing some of Ireland's most special marine birds and our conservation activities on Lambay and Rockabill Islands. (Photo: Dick Coombes)
Read about Her Imperial Highness' trip to see Dublin's seabirds and our project work
"What are these strange orange-headed birds in my garden?"
Over the past few weeks we have received lots of phone calls and emails here at BirdWatch Ireland about strange birds with bright orange heads that have been visiting gardens. They tend to flock with Starlings and House Sparrows and can be quite numerous in some areas, though they do not seem to be pictured in any field guides. This is something that we have become used to at this time of year, but this summer the number of reports received has been higher that usual. So, what has been going on? (Photo: unusual orange-headed bird by Brendan Fitzpatrick)
Read more about these unusual-looking garden arrivals and discover their true identity!
View from the Farm Gate
Without doubt, one of the most popular features we have ever run in our quarterly membership magazine Wings is our View from the Farm Gate series. Over the course of two years, Alex Copland (left), BirdWatch Ireland's resident farmland bird expert, travelled the country to visit different types of farm and to interview farmers who do what they can to support nature, proving that farming and conservation need not by any means be mutually exclusive. Now that the series has concluded, we have collected Alex's pieces on all eight of the featured farms: they make for inspiring and uplifting reading.
Explore our full archive of View from the Farm Gate articles, taken from Wings magazine
People4Soil: please sign the petition
Ireland's soils need your help. We rely on soil to provide healthy food, clean water, support wildlife, store carbon, prevent flooding and ultimately maintain livelihoods around the country. But over the last half a century Ireland's soils have come under increasing pressure from land use changes, intensification of agriculture, erosion and overgrazing, disposal of organic wastes to soils, afforestation, industry and urbanisation. Soils are not a renewable resource, so when we lose them they are gone. Because of this, we need to protect them. Along with our Environmental Pillar partners, we are asking you to please sign a petition calling for protection measures to be brought into effect in Ireland and across Europe.
Learn more about the People4Soil campaign and how you can lend your support
Tern nesting season in full swing: check out our Rockablog
For BirdWatch Ireland wardens working at our east coast tern colonies, July is traditionally an extremely busy month. Parents are constantly finding food to cram into hungry mouths, chicks are taking their first flights and, throughout it all, our wardens need to monitor their charges, measure, weigh and ring the youngsters and chart the birds' breeding success.

The rare Roseate Tern (left: photo by Julie Roe) is the main focus of our conservation efforts on tiny Rockabill Island, off the North County Dublin coast. You can follow all of the action on our wardens' "Rockablog", which this week includes their own personal reflections on the recent visit they received from Princess Takamado (see above).
Read our wardens' latest Rockablog posts, and check back for frequent updates
Europe's vultures urgently need your help
Vulture populations in Spain, Portugal and Italy, where most of Europe's vultures are found, are in danger: a veterinary drug, diclofenac, could potentially lead to the death of thousands of these vulnerable birds. The vultures are exposed to the drug - which is not toxic to livestock or humans - when they eat the carcasses of farm animals that have previously been treated with it.

Diclofenac has already wiped out populations of vultures across much of southern Asia. It would be tragic if these mistakes were to be repeated in Europe. BirdLife Europe and Central Asia, in collaboration with SEO/BirdLife, SPEA, VCF and WWF, has launched a campaign to ban veterinary diclofenac in Europe, and has produced a brochure explaining the problem.
Please sign the petition calling for the banning of dicofenac and help to save Europe's vultures
If you have not already done so, please join BirdWatch Ireland today - as a charity, we really need your support. Members receive a welcome pack, four issues of our print magazine Wings each year (plus our Bird Detectives children's magazine for family and junior members) and a special free gift and welcome pack, as well access to hundreds of free local branch events all over Ireland. You can join online via our secure web shop, or if you prefer you can always give us a call on 01-2819878 instead. If you are already a member, don't forget that membership also makes a great gift for friends and family.

See you again next month!

Niall Hatch
Public Relations, Branches & 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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