Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Rockabill 2015 - The season starts soon and we need your help!

The breeding season is nearly upon us and Birdwatch Ireland urgently needs your help to step-up our efforts to conserve Ireland's seabirds as they face increasing pressures and uncertainties.

Your donations will help with important wardening, research and conservation efforts needed to protect Ireland's nationally and internationally important seabird colonies.
Roseate Tern on Rockabill - the single biggest colony in Europe. (Picture taken under NPWS license)

Those of you familiar with this blog will know that Rockabill is the biggest Roseate Tern colony in Europe - with >40% of the European population on a tiny island off the coast of Dublin. So everything we do is important not just for Ireland's birds and biodiversity, but is important at a continental level. As well as Roseate Terns, the island has >2100 pairs of Common Terns, 50-100 pairs of Black Guillemots and 150-200 pairs of breeding Kittiwakes.

Roseate Tern outside its nextbox (Picture taken under NPWS license)

The use of Roseate Tern nestboxes has been a key factor in their population growth on Rockabill - from around 200 pairs in the late 1980's to 1250 pairs last year. At the end of every summer some boxes have reached the end of their useful lifespan and are falling apart, leaving less available for the following year. This, together with the continued population growth, mean new nestboxes will be very important for the coming season.

A donation of €5 will help pay for materials to build a Roseate Tern next-box. A good nest box can be used for several years, so your donation will have a lasting impact for the terns on Rockabill.

We wouldn't have nearly as many Roseate Terns if it wasn't for the nestboxes we put out on Rockabill each year.

Every year there are two wardens on Rockabill - looking after over 7,000 breeding adult seabirds and around 10,000 chicks - to say we're kept busy would be an under-statement!

Important data is gathered on Rosate Tern chicks by the wardens each year, supported by BWI staff and volunteers. (Picture taken under NPWS license)

A donation of €250 will help charter a boat to take staff and volunteers  to Rockabill, to help with habitat management and gathering important data throughout the season. Having some extra helping hands at key parts of the season really makes a huge difference!

So please, donate what you can to help Birdwatch Ireland  protect and monitor seabirds on Rockabill and all along Ireland's coasts.

How your donation will help 
  • €5 will help pay for materials to build a Roseate Tern nest-box
  • €20 will buy an electric fence battery to help protect Little Tern colonies
  • €50 will buy a GPS tag for seabird research and monitoring
  • €250 will help charter a boat to take staff and volunteers to the Roseate Tern colony on Rockabill
  • €1,000 will pay for an expedition to survey threatened seabirds on remote west coast islands

Thank you for your support, and keep an eye on the blog next week to hear how the first few days went on Rockabill for the 2015 breeding season.

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