BirdWatch Ireland – eWings #76

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Check out BirdWatch Ireland’s eWings newsletter for January, 2016.  Issue #76 includes important information on proposed changes to the timing of hedge cutting and burning, as well as announcements for upcoming citizen science events.  For example . . .

Please speak up for the birds of Ireland’s hedgerows and uplands
A coalition of Irish conservation and environmental NGOs (BirdWatch Ireland, An Taisce, the Irish Wildlife Trust and the Hedgelaying Association of Ireland) have together launched a campaign called No to More Slash and Burn to stop the passage of the Heritage Bill 2016, which includes changes to Section 40 of the Wildlife Act. The proposed changes would allow hedgecutting in August, at a time when birds such as the Yellowhammer (left: photo by Shay Connolly) are still nesting, and would also permit the burning of habitats in the uplands into the month of March, again at a time when sensitive upland species such as the Curlew are beginning their nesting activities and starting egg-laying. You can read BirdWatch Ireland’s position statement on the threats posed by these changes here.

The bill is currently being fast-tracked through the Oireachtas before its dissolution in advance of the upcoming General Election. Despite significant advocacy work by the NGOs concerned and impassioned speeches by Senators John Whelan, David Norris and Gerard Craughwell, the Bill has passed the Seanad and is on its way to Committee before it goes to the Dáil. We still have time to influence this decision.


The two core surveys run by BirdWatch Ireland, which monitor our breeding bird populations and our wintering waterbirds, depend on a large network of volunteers to carry out the fieldwork. In recent years, training days have proved to be very popular as a way of learning about how to get involved and also a chance to meet other people already participating in one or both of the surveys. These sessions also provide us with the opportunity to give feedback on some results of the surveys to date.

This year, we are planning to hold three such training days. They will jointly cover both the Countryside Bird Survey (CBS) and the Irish Wetland Bird Survey (I-WeBS). The sessions will run from approximately 09.30 to 16.00 each day and they will include indoor presentations and a short field trip. The dates for your diary are:

Sunday 28th February
Saturday 5th March
Sunday 20th March

The details are yet to be finalised, but one workshop will be held in Cork, one in the northwest and the other probably in the east or northeast. The exact schedule will soon be available and posted in the next eWings and through other channels. If you would like to be informed about the full details when they are available please contact and we will add you to the list of those interested. The events are free, but we do need people to book.

Yours sincerely,
Niall Hatch, Development Officer


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Waterthrush Podcast #24: FOY Season

There’s a new episode of The Waterthrush Podcast available.  Check it out to learn about 4 big ideas to advance science, the biggest big year ever, and what this FOY stuff is all about.

Posted in Bird Education Network, BIRDATHON, birding, birds/nature, environment, evolution, IUCN, life, Links, migrants, National Audubon Society, skepticism and science, The Waterthrush Podcast, wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bird Education Network – BEN Bulletin for January 2016

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BEN – Bird Education Network

Some Lessons from the Jr. Audubon Clubs
by Paul J. Baicich

From the very start of the anti-feather-trade bird-protection movement of the late 1800s, there was an interest in winning over the sympathies of children. Beyond the general appeal by our bird-protection foremothers to a caring youthful public, there were two important institutional trends that arose.

The first organized attempt began with the “Nature Study Movement” led by Anna Botsford Comstock and other educators in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a call to study nature, not simply books. Continue reading

Posted in animal behavior, Bird Education Network, birding, birding community e-bulletin, birds/nature, Christmas Bird Count, editorial, Endangered Species Act, environment, life, migrants, National Audubon Society, nature deficit disorder, No Child Left Inside, Partners in Flight, wildlife | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Birding Community E-Bulletin, January 2016

Welcome to the first Birding Community E-Bulletin for 2016!  There’s a lot going on, so read on and enjoy.

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The Birding Community E-bulletin is distributed to active and concerned birders, those dedicated to the joys of birding and the protection of birds and their habitats.


While on his way home from work late in the day on Saturday, 5 December, Ben Morrison found an intriguing-looking gull at Springfield Lake in Summit County, Ohio, just outside of Akron. The gull was fairly large, dark-mantled, and greenish-yellow-legged. It looked vaguely similar to a Great Black-backed Gull. But not quite. The word went out; later photos and videos were circulated among experts; the conclusions came in. This was, indeed, a rarity: a Kelp Gull.

The Kelp Gull is a species that is largely a resident of the Southern Hemisphere (South America, s. Africa, Australia, and New Zealand) that has also been expanding its range. In North America it is a casual or very rare visitor, Continue reading

Posted in birding, birding community e-bulletin, birds/nature, Christmas Bird Count, Endangered Species Act, environment, evolution, IUCN, Links, migrants, National Audubon Society, nature deficit disorder, No Child Left Inside, Partners in Flight, population estimates, population monitoring, wildlife | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Combining Techniques Provides New Insight Into Bird Migration

Source: Combining Techniques Provides New Insight Into Bird Migration

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What words mean . . .

actually matters.

Here in the US, there’s an unfortunate stereotype that someone who encourages the proper use of words and grammatical structures is a pedantic jerk.  If you do this, you might even be an intellectual snob in anti-intellectual America.  You’re uptight. Rigid. To take the extreme view with the most common term used for people who prefer grammatical accuracy, you are a grammar Nazi!  That’s right – your unreasonable demands for people to use words correctly evokes the most hated group of genocidal lunatics in our collective memory.

Funny, people don’t seem to get quite so upset when we encourage accuracy in arithmetic. . .

Granted, word usage and grammatical norms aren’t exactly mathematical truths, but we can find some objective common ground in the English language. That’s why I’m always happy to find good examples of common mistakes in grammar and word usage, like this one I discovered from Quartz. Thanks to Dr. Travis Bradberry of TalentSmart for the article, and its insights.

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This guy gets it.


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