Issue 98, November 2017
Welcome to the November 2017 issue of eWings, BirdWatch Ireland's email newsletter.
With Christmas just around the corner, this is the ideal time to remind you about our BirdWatch Ireland shop. It is a great source of Christmas gift ideas, with lots to choose from for the nature-lover in your life. You can shop securely online 24 hours a day or, if you prefer (or if you would like to get some personalised recommendations), you can give us a call on 01-2819878. Remember that by buying from BirdWatch Ireland you are helping to support our vital conservation work, which is a nice Christmas bonus both for you and for Ireland's wildlife.

If you ask me, the best Christmas gift of all is BirdWatch Ireland membership. Members receive a welcome pack, 4 issues of our print magazine Wings throughout the 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 take out a gift membership online, or, again, you can simply ring us on 01-2819878.

If you are not already a BirdWatch Ireland member yourself, perhaps you could drop some hints to your nearest and dearest that you would like them to give you the gift of membership for Christmas. You will be glad you did!
To view the articles and news below in full, simply click on the link displayed at the bottom of each summary.
Garden Bird Survey: help us to keep track of Ireland's garden birds
BirdWatch Ireland's most popular public-participation survey is, without doubt, our annual Garden Bird Survey. Each winter, thousands of people all across Ireland help us by recording the bird species which visit their gardens over a 13-week period. This valuable information tells us a great deal about the fortunes of our garden bird populations, as well as their responses to challenges such as bad weather, lack of food and climate change.

This winter's survey will begin on Monday 4th December. It would be wonderful if as many eWings readers as possible could take part. It is very simple, great fun and an ideal way to learn more about the birds which visit your garden. It is especially good for helping children to develop an interest in wildlife. A word of warning, though: it can become highly addictive!

By the way, we have launched a special blog this winter to help you get the most out of the survey, as well as to look after and identify the birds visiting your garden: please take a look, and remember to check back for weekly updates.(Photo: Robin by Brian Burke)
See how to take part in our Garden Bird Survey, either online or by printing our form
Winter bird walk and wreath-making at the East Coast Nature Reserve
We have a lovely fun family event planned at the BirdWatch Ireland East Coast Nature Reserve in Newcastle, County Wicklow on Saturday 9th December. Join us between 11:00 and 13:00 for a walk around the reserve to see our special winter migrant birds, then make your very own Christmas wreath and bird feeder using sustainably-sourced materials from the reserve itself. The event is free of charge and is open to all: no booking required.
Click for more details about this fun family event at the East Coast Nature Reserve
Suet Snowman and Suet Christmas Tree set: the perfect socking-filler
Fill your garden with festive cheer and give your garden birds a healthy feast. This festive Suet Snowman and Suet Christmas Tree set offers a healthy meal for the birds and would make an ideal gift for any bird-lovers you happen to know.

The high calorie ingredients will be popular with a wide variety of garden birds, and the extra energy will help to keep them warm during the cold winter months. Available from the BirdWatch Ireland shop for just €8, plus P&P.

BirdWatch Ireland also stocks a very wide range of more conventionally-shaped birdfood and bird feeders. We only sell the very highest-quality birdfood: when you buy from us, in addition to keeping your feathered friends well-fed this winter, you will have the peace of mind of knowing that the food you are giving them is not causing them any harm. And remember, all proceeds of sale go to support our conservation work: a double win for the birds!
Buy your Suet Snowman and Suet Christmas Tree set from the BirdWatch Ireland shop today
What do Barn Owls do after nightfall? Our new video sheds some light
We have created a series of videos that give some amazing insights into Barn Owl behaviour and foraging, revealed through the use of GPS technology. This past summer, BirdWatch Ireland researchers temporarily fitted light-weight GPS dataloggers to adult Barn Owls to study their movements and use of the landscape. The main aim of this research, which is funded by Transport Infrastructure Ireland, is to learn about how Barn Owls use and interact with major roads, with a view to helping to reduce Barn Owl road deaths. To learn more about Barn Owls and roads, check our our new video: in it we follow the fortunes of a nesting pair near Tralee in Co. Kerry, and specifically the female on her nightly foraging trips during the busy breeding season. More videos on our raptor research and conservation work will follow soon. (Photo: Barn Owl by Alex Copland)
Click to watch our new Barn Owl video on the BirdWatch Ireland YouTube channel
Whooper Swans electrocuted in Co. Donegal
BirdWatch Ireland is extremely concerned about the deaths by electrocution of multiple migratory Whooper Swans in Co. Donegal. Their carcasses were discovered earlier this month lying under electricity lines close to the village of Carrigans in the north-east of the county, close to the border with Northern Ireland. It appears that the deaths were the result of multiple separate collisions with the electricity wires over a period of several weeks. Some of the birds were freshly dead when found, while others showed varying levels of decomposition, indicating that they had died on various different occasions. (Photo: one of the dead Whooper Swans discovered near Carrigans, by Daniel Moloney)
Learn more about this incident and the risks that electricity wires can pose to large birds
Over 30,000 people across Ireland pledge their support for nature
With the Heritage Bill entering committee stage in the Dáil, a petition asking that the Wildlife Act continues to protect wildlife broke through the 30,000 signatures mark. This phenomenal level of support is thanks to those that recognise the value of our natural heritage and took the time to sign the online petition. To everyone that voiced this support, and especially to those that promoted the petition through social media or to family and friends, we are extremely grateful.

Of course, the fight to protect our uplands from burning in spring and our hedgerows from being cut in late summer continues. BirdWatch Ireland has been invited to give a presentation in defence of our wildlife to the Select Committee on Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht on December 5th. Thanks to all the volunteers who contributed nearly 500 records to our Heritage Council-funded project on late-nesting bird species, we now have new evidence to present to this select committee about birds nesting in our hedgerows in August. This will allow us to make a very strong case, based on scientific evidence, against extending the hedge-cutting season. On top of this, we have data from the UK on the breeding dates for birds of our uplands, potentially rendering the proposal to allow burning in March in breach of the EU Birds Directive.
Join more than 30,000 people who have already signed up: add your name to our No to More Slash and Burn petition
BirdWatch Ireland is offering a special Beginning Birdwatching Kit that would make an ideal present for anyone you know with an interest in wildlife. The kit contains everything needed to get started, including:
  • one year's Family Membership of BirdWatch Ireland
  • 4 issues of Wings, our quarterly 36-page membership magazine
  • 2 issues of our children's magazine Bird Detectives
  • a pair of 10x42 Opticron Adventurer binoculars
  • a superb Birds of Ireland field guide
  • a guidebook to Ireland's Garden Birds
  • a nestbox
  • a personalised gift card
The Beginning Birdwatching Kit is available now from the BirdWatch Ireland shop for €199, plus P&P.

We also have a very limited stock of our BirdWatch Ireland Christmas cards (€6 per pack of 20, plus P&P) and our Irish Birds Calendar 2018 (€6, plus P&P) still available, though we expect that these will sell out quickly: order now to avoid disappointment.

I just have one final thing to mention. One of our members in Co. Galway, Colin Heaslip, is looking for any fellow BirdWatch Ireland members who might be interested in becoming involved with a new Galway Branch committee to please contact him at

See you again next month!

Niall Hatch
Public Relations, Branches & Development Officer

P.S. Would you like to join as a member today and/or make a donation to support our vital conservation work?
  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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