|After seven years of research, the Irish Hen Harrier Winter Survey has revolutionised our knowledge of Hen Harrier non-breeding distribution, ecology and conservation. This is of great importance, considering the non-breeding season accounts for 8 months of the year, from August to March! Over 80 winter roosts have been discovered by the dedicated team of volunteers and counts at these roosts as well as casual sightings submitted each autumn and winter provide a picture of how our wintering population is doing. The last number of years have seen a decrease both in numbers attending roosts and seen in the general countryside. Without the Irish Hen Harrier Winter Survey, this trend and indeed the locations of the Hen Harriers for the majority of the year in Irelandwould have remained largely unknown. If you happen to see a Hen Harrier between the months of August and March (inclusive) be sure to get in contact with us at email@example.com. Some of the harriers have wing tags to let us know where they have come from and what age they are so bear this in mind! We are always looking for new volunteers to watch winter roosts so if interested please also contact firstname.lastname@example.org.||
Hen Harrier Winter Roost Painting © Barry O'Donoghue
In July 2007 30 young Red Kites were introduced to the wild in Co. Wicklow as the start of a programme to restore this native bird of prey to Ireland. The Wicklow Red Kite Project is a partnership between the Golden Eagle Trust, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Welsh Kite Trust.
The Red Kite is a bird of mixed lowland countryside. Its primary nesting habitat is woodland but it may spend a large amount of time feeding in farmland and hedgerow. The birds spend a part of each day soaring above the landscape in order to search for food. The birds are individually marked with numbered wing tags so that they can be relocated and their survival monitored. The first sign of breeding behaviour by these Red Kites in Ireland is expected to occur by 2010. Although the birds are natural scavengers, they feed extensively on earthworms, small mammals such as rats and rabbits and birds such as magpies and other crows. The Red Kite does not present any threat to livestock and in parts of the UK they have become major tourist attractions as they perform spectacular aerial displays.
Good views of flying Red Kites can be expected at various locations in Co. Wicklow over the next few months. Any information on sightings of the birds, including date, locality and identifying features should be sent to the Project Manager, Damian Clarke, 086 3284463 or email@example.com
In August 2007 a number of young White Tailed Eagles were released into the wild in Killarney National Park as part of the programme to reintroduce this native bird of prey to Ireland.
The White Tailed Eagle Project is a partnership between the Golden Eagle Trust, The National Parks and Wildlife Service and others. The eagle chicks came from Norway. The project will operate over a five year period and will follow the methods of other successful projects in Ireland and Scotland. It is expected that most of the eagles released today will disperse to the coastline after a few months and monitoring will take place after release.
For further information please contact: Eamonn Meskell, Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry; 064-31440 or firstname.lastname@example.org
This five-year project aims to re-introduce golden eagles to Donegal, Ireland, where they became extinct in 1910. Further information can be found on the project's website http://www.goldeneagle.ie/.
During 2005 and into 2007 Birds Unit co-ordinated surveys of Red Grouse, Hen Harrier, Chough and Red-throated Diver. The Countryside Bird Survey is continuing this year, as is support of the Corncrake scheme, I-WeBS, the Roseate Tern project on Rockabill and Greenland White-fronted Goose work in Iceland. The SPA designation process is also being progressed.
Corncrake (Crex crex) (Photo: Eddie Dunne)
Members of Research Branch can be contacted by e-mailing: email@example.com