Irish Wetland Bird Survey

Monitoring wintering waterbirds in Ireland

Each winter over 400 skilled volunteers, NPWS Rangers and BirdWatch Ireland staff monitor wintering waterbird populations at their wetland sites across the Republic of Ireland. The Irish Wetland Bird Survey (I-WeBS) is coordinated by BirdWatch Ireland and funded by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

What’s involved?

I-WeBS counters record waterbirds at wetland sites across the country during the winter ‘non-breeding’ season (September to March). The type of wetlands surveyed range from wet grasslands to large complex estuaries that hold thousands of birds, and everything in between. We’re always in need of new counters, so if you’d like to get involved and help monitor your local waterbirds, see ‘Get involved in I-WeBS’ below.

Why do we count waterbirds?

Hundreds of thousands of migratory waterbirds spend the winter in Ireland, relying on our wetlands to feed and rest. Most of these birds spend the summer nesting in arctic regions (e.g. Greenland, Iceland, Scandinavia, Siberia) but fly south in the autumn as their breeding grounds freeze over. As Irish wetlands are so important for their survival, these wild birds and the habitats they rely on are protected by national and EU legislation. And so, I-WeBS exists to keep track of how these birds are faring. With this knowledge, informed conservation action can be taken.

Species Trends

Population trends of waterbird species monitored through I-WeBS.

Site Summaries

Summary count data for wetland sites monitored through I-WeBS.

Data Requests

To request more detailed I-WeBS data please click here.

Irish Wetland Bird Survey News

Male-Pintail-landing-on-water I-WeBSWaterbirds
March 29, 2019

Ireland’s Wintering Waterbirds down by 40% in 20 years

Wading bird species, including Knot, Dunlin, Golden Plover and Redshank, have been the worst hit, suffering a combined loss of over 100,000 individuals (19%) over the past five years. Wildfowl,…

Latest I-WeBS Publications

I-WeBS Summary Report 2014/15

Results of Waterbird Monitoring in Ireland in 2014/15.

I-WeBS Counter Manual

Counter manual detailing the methodology for taking part in counts for the Irish Wetland Bird Survey (I-WeBS).

I-WeBS News 2018

The newsletter for I-WeBS counters, published in August 2018 in advance of the 2018/19 I-WeBS season.

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