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

I-WeBSMigrationNewsSurveys and MonitoringSwans & GeeseWaterbirds
October 3, 2019

Geese and Swans return to Ireland for the winter

If you haven't noticed the dearth of swifts and swallows around the country recently, then this weeks weather will have put it beyond doubt that the summer is indeed over!…
male-wigeon-standing-on-pebble-lough-shore I-WeBSSurveys
January 30, 2019

I-WeBS Twenty-five years… and counting

What an interesting year it has been since our last newsletter. From snowdrifts to drought, Ireland has seen it all over the past twelve months. Extreme weather patterns were also…

Latest I-WeBS Publications

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 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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