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Spring Alive

Spring Alive – help us keep track of our Swallows, Swifts and Cuckoos

Summer is coming, and one of the key signs that the seasons are changing is the return of our migratory breeding birds.  No doubt many of you keep a keen eye or ear out for the return of your local birds: this year, we need you to share the good news with us.

Spring Alive is an exciting “citizen science” project that is organised by BirdWatch Ireland and its partners all across Europe.  The aim is to track the arrival dates of Europe’s common migrants; all over the continent, people are asked to report their first sightings of Swifts, Swallows and/or Cuckoos.  The aim is to show the fascinating spread of spring across Europe as our migrants return, while at the same time allowing us to gather important scientific data that will help us to gauge the impact of problems such as habitat loss and climate change.  Every single observation is important.

Taking part in Spring Alive is very easy: simply look or listen for your first Swallow, Swift and/or Cuckoo of the year, then either go to www.springalive.net, write to us or call us (see details below) and tell us the date you saw or heard the bird and which county it was in.

No advance knowledge of birds is required: the website is packed with information, including photos, sound recordings, video clips, and even interactive games and maps.  All of the material is available in both English and Irish language versions, as well as in a wide range of other European languages.  For teachers who would like to run Spring Alive as a class project, a special set of teachers’ materials and lesson plans is also available for download, and for the first time children can now upload their own stories and photographs to the website.

The response from observers in Ireland last year was phenomenal; in fact, Ireland was responsible for more records than any other country in Europe.  We are keen to keep up this good work this year, so, please, send us your records, and tell your friends, family and work colleagues to do the same.  It only takes a few seconds, and we guarantee that you will enjoy all the features that the website has to offer.

Remember, we need as many records as we can get from as many people as possible . . . that includes you!

To learn more about Spring Alive or to submit your records, please visit www.springalive.net.  Alternatively, please write to BirdWatch Ireland, P.O. Box 12, Greystones, Co. Wicklow or call 01-2819878.

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