Irish Wetland Bird Survey

Monitoring wintering waterbirds in Ireland


International Swan Census 2020

11th/12th January 2020

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

I-WeBSMigrationNewsSurveysSurveys and MonitoringSwans & GeeseWaterbirdsWetlands
October 12, 2020

Irish Wetlands alive with the sound of returning Geese and Swans

We've been getting reports of the odd Swallow still in Ireland in the last week or two, but it's safe to say that almost all of our summer migrants have…
whimbrel-standing-on-lichen-covered-rock I-WeBSMigrationNewsSurveys and MonitoringWaterbirds
May 11, 2020

When is a Curlew not a Curlew? Whimbrels May be the bird you’re seeing!

The Irish spring is characterised by some birds leaving for their breeding grounds, having spent six months wintering here, and other birds arriving here to breed, having spent the preceding…

Post-breeding Tern aggregations in Ireland (Irish Birds 2020)

Peer-reviewed study on post-breeding tern flocks around the Irish coast.

I-WeBS News 2019

The newsletter for I-WeBS counters, published in August 2019 in advance of the 2019/20 I-WeBS season.

I-WeBS Summary Report 2015/16

Results of Waterbird Monitoring in Ireland in 2015/16

I-WeBS Counter Manual

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

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I-WeBS Publication Archive