BirdWatch Ireland (www.birdwatchireland.ie; firstname.lastname@example.org) is the largest independent conservation organisation in Ireland, protecting birds and biodiversity. Established in 1968, it now has over 15,000 members and supporters and a local network of 30 branches nationwide. It produces a colourful and informative quarterly magazine, Wings, with a special section for young members, and electronic news. Galway (www.birdwatchgalway.org) has its own quarterly e-Newsletter (to put your name on the mailing list or to submit your written contribution, contact the editor: email@example.com). The Newsletter includes a quarterly list of notable bird sightings; anyone who sees an unusual bird in Galway can report this to firstname.lastname@example.org and through www.birdtrack.net.
BirdWatch members in Galway City and County, especially the more active ones, aim to contribute to the conservation of birds and bird habitats throughout the entire Galway area and to increase awareness of birds and their needs in co-operation with the board and professional staff of BirdWatch Ireland. In practice, members contribute to a number of national bird surveys (all listed on the BirdWatch web site), inc. the winter Garden Bird Survey, the Irish Wetland Bird Survey (I-WeBS) which is linked in with the International Waterbird Census (IWC), the non-estuarine waterbird survey (NEWS), the Countryside Bird Survey (CBS) and surveys of specific species. During spring, sightings of early migrants such as Cuckoos, Swallows and Swifts are reported to www.springalive.net. In support of the members’ input, BirdWatch Ireland staff run conservation and survey workshops and topical conferences to inform members of new developments and enhance communication within the organisation.
In Galway City, Tom Cuffe runs monthly outings from September to May at Nimmo’s Pier (across the water from the Spanish Arch) every first Saturday of the month from 10.30am till approximately 12 noon. These outings are free to all, very suitable for children and older beginners and excellent to get introduced to bird watching and fellow bird watchers. Some other members also give talks or guide walks at the invitation of schools and community groups throughout the county.
There is a small bird reserve (access free) off the Barna road opposite the Ballymoneen Road in Knocknacarra, overlooking Rusheen Bay. The Small Wood was kindly donated to BirdWatch Ireland by the O’Malley family and is being managed by some committed Galway members.
For further information about BirdWatch activities in Galway, please contact Marianne ten Cate at email@example.com or 087-2378051.