South Dublin Branch - Projects

Subalpine Warbler - Cape Clear Island, Cork (photo: Michael O'Keeffe)

BirdWatch Ireland Projects

BirdWatch Ireland undertakes various projects to monitor the well being of wild birds in Ireland and ultimately to better understand their conservation needs. Much of the work is carried out in the field and this provides opportunities for amateur bird watchers of all levels of experience to become involved. Over the years many members of the South Dublin branch have taken part in a variety of BirdWatch Ireland projects. Read on for brief descriptions of some of these projects as well as a link to more information.

Dalkey Island Terns

The South Dublin Branch have been taking an active interest in the small colony of terns that breed on rocks off Dalkey Island since the summer of 1995. The original initiative came from BirdWatch Ireland HQ when it was hoped that Roseate Terns might be encouraged to breed among the Common and Arctic Terns that nest on the outcrop of rock known as the Maiden's Rock. Each Tuesday in July the branch conducts a tern watch from Coliemore Harbour.

Countryside Bird Survey (CBS)

Reductions in the numbers of many Irish breeding birds became obvious when the results published in the first two Breeding Bird Atlases (Sharrock 1976, Gibbons et al 1993) were compared. The next breeding atlas would not commence for another twenty years and that might well be too late for some of our declining species. The immediate need to monitor and track breeding bird populations on an ongoing basis was obvious. The solution was the Countryside Bird Survey, which began operating in 1998. The CBS would employ robust sampling techniques across a representative number of locations nationwide to gather data on breeding bird populations. Those volunteers taking part are asked to make a few visits to specified locations where they record the birds they encounter, before sending the results in to BirdWatch Ireland. These findings are then used to calculate the status of up to fifty species of breeding bird in Ireland.
Find out more about the Countryside Bird Survey.

Irish Wetland Bird Survey (I-WeBS)

I-WeBS is a long term and ongoing project, which monitors the winter population and distribution of waterfowl in Ireland. It has been undertaken annually since the winter of 1994-95 with results published in Irish Birds and elsewhere. The scheme is run jointly by BirdWatch Ireland and the National Parks and Wildlife Service and its success depends very much on volunteers taking part in the monthly counts of waterbirds on estuaries, open bays, lakes, rivers & streams, flooded fields etc nationwide.
Find out more about the Irish Wetland Bird Survey.

Garden Bird Survey (GBS)

Our gardens are very important refuges for many species of birds. BirdWatch Ireland's Garden Bird Survey was the first survey to study garden bird populations in Ireland. Each winter since 1994/95 participants record peak counts of various species in their garden over a 13 week period between December and February.
Read more about the Garden Bird Survey.


BirdTrack is a year round data entry system, which allows birders to enter and maintain their observations online, as well as making them available for collective analysis by the administrators. The system is a joint partnership between BirdWatch Ireland, BTO, RSPB and the Scottish Ornithologists' Club.
Find out more about BirdTrack.

Spring Alive

Spring Alive is a bird survey which allows participants to register their first sightings of Cuckoo, Swallow and Swift online. The results can be seen on the on the Spring Alive website. In Ireland, it is a joint BirdLife International and BirdWatch Ireland project that has been running since spring 2006. Long term, the project will plot arrival patterns and trends of migrants returning to our shores.
Find out more about Spring Alive.


Gibbons, D.W., Reid, J.B. & Chapman, R.A. 1993. The New Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland: 1988-1991. T&AD Poyser, London.

Sharrock, J.T.R. 1976. The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland. T&AD Poyser, Calton.