Issue 96, September 2017
Welcome to the September 2017 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
Now that September is almost at an end, we at BirdWatch Ireland have been receiving lots of queries about what is perhaps Ireland's most popular migrant, the Swallow. Several concerned people have contacted us about Swallows that still have chicks in their nests, and many people have asked us if they are late in leaving this year.

The fact is, although the bulk of our Swallows leave us during September, it is actually perfectly normal for good numbers to remain here well into October, and it happens every year. All going well, these late-brood chicks will leave their nests soon and begin the long and arduous flight to southern Africa, where they will spend our winter.

If you are interested in Swallows and other migrant birds and you like to keep an eye on their arrival and departure dates, please share this information with us via BirdTrack, a fantastic online system that allows you to log your sightings of all Irish birds, common or rare, and which allows us to build up a picture of their movements and locations. It is a great way to keep track of your own sightings over time, and the data we gather with your assistance is invaluable to us in our conservation work.
To view the articles and news below in full, simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each summary.
Getting the countryside buzzing again
Pollinating insects, such as bees, are vital for Irish agriculture and ecosystems. Unfortunately our pollinators are in decline, and the problem is serious. One-third of our 98 bee species are threatened with extinction in Ireland. If we want them to be here to pollinate crops and wild plants for future generations, we need to manage the landscape in a more pollinator-friendly way and to create a network of diverse and flower-rich habitats. The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2015-2020, coordinated by the National Biodiversity Data Centre, is supported by over 80 governmental and non-governmental organisations, including BirdWatch Ireland, who have pledged to deliver 81 actions to achieve this goal and make Ireland, north and south, more pollinator-friendly. Everyone, including farmers, councils, local communities, businesses, schools, gardeners and transport authorities, has a role to play.
Learn more and download the newly-launched 20-page pollinator action guide for farmland
East Coast Nature Reserve - volunteer work days during October
Each Thursday during the month of October, BirdWatch Ireland will be holding a volunteer work day at its East Coast Nature Reserve at Newcastle, Co. Wicklow. Each session will run from 10:30 to 15:30 and will focus on helping with the basic maintenance and upkeep of the reserve, including painting, path maintenance, woodland management, scrub clearance and fencing. If you would like to come along and help out, please give us a call on 01-2819878 or email
Please click here for more information on our upcoming reserve volunteer sessions
Back by popular demand: singing bird soft toys
These delightful singing toys from Wild Republic will be cherished by bird-loving children and adults alike. With their new improved realistic life-like design they are utterly irresistible. All of the soft toys in the range sing the real song of the bird when squeezed, using genuine digitally-reproduced recordings.

We currently have 8 different designs available: each bird is approx. 16cm in length and is suitable for children aged 3 and over.
See our current range of singing bird toys, available from our shop for €9 each, plus P&P
In France, the Ortolan Bunting may soon be off the menu
BirdWatch Ireland welcomes the announcement by the French Ministry of Ecology, Nicolas Hulot, that he has committed to ending the large-scale trapping of Ortolan Buntings in France, which takes place to meet demand for a cruel dish where the songbird is blinded, fattened up and then drowned in brandy. It is a practice that has driven Ortolan Bunting population declines of up to 84% in Europe since 1980.

For the past 10 years, LPO, our BirdLife International partner in France, has been fighting this illegal practice by identifying trapping sites and releasing the birds, then alerting the authorities. Until recently, LPO's interventions were the only way to identify and prosecute the poachers, who operated with the blessing of local elected officials and hunting officials, and who claimed that the state "tolerated" these practices. This resulted in around 30,000 of these small songbirds being trapped, tortured and killed on their autumn migration each year. (Photo: Ortolan Bunting by Pierre Dalous)
Read more about this barbaric practice and Minister Hulot's welcome announcement
I-WeBS News: our annual waterbird survey newsletter is out now
The Irish Wetland Bird Survey (or I-WeBS, for short) is the main way by which we monitor the populations of non-breeding waders, waterfowl and other waterbirds across Ireland, as well as the health of the wetland habitats upon which they depend. Managed by BirdWatch Ireland and funded and supported by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the survey counts are carried out by teams of dedicated counters each month from September to April. The latest issue of our annual I-WeBS News newsletter has just been published and has been posted to our team of counters, but you can download it for free.
Download the latest issue of I-WeBS News and read about this vital survey (PDF: 2.5MB)
Internship position available: Policy and Advocacy Support Officer
As part of its goal to conserve Ireland's birds, their habitats and wider biodiversity, BirdWatch Ireland carries out a range of policy and advocacy activities. We are looking for a suitably qualified person to join our Policy and Advocacy Division as an intern, supporting our diverse range of work areas including ending overfishing, agricultural policy, renewable energy, campaigning work, casework and reviewing planning applications and lots more! This is an exciting opportunity to join a dedicated team of people working to protect birds and other biodiversity in Ireland.
Please click here for more information or to apply for this internship position with BirdWatch Ireland
Please, if you have not already done so, join BirdWatch Ireland today. Members receive a welcome pack, 4 issues of our print magazine Wings each year (plus our Bird Detectives kids' magazine for family and junior members) and a special free gift, as well access to hundreds of free 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, please encourage your friends and family to join too, or even give them the gift of BirdWatch Ireland membership. The more members we can persuade to join, the more support we will have for our vital work to conserve Irish wildlife.

One last thing: remember to like the BirdWatch Ireland Facebook page and follow BirdWatch Ireland on Twitter.

See you again next month!

Niall Hatch
Public Relations, Branches & Development Officer

P.S. If you enjoy receiving eWings each month, would you like to make a donation to support our work?
BirdWatch Ireland
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Bullford Business Campus
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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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