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Sunday, 15 March 2015 21:36

Irish Hen Harrier Survey 2015 Invite

Hen Harrier pair Hen Harrier pair (c) Robert Vaughan

 The Golden Eagle Trust, Irish Raptor Study Group and BirdWatch Ireland have formed an exciting conservation partnership and collectively are co-ordinating the 2015 Irish Hen Harrier Survey for the National Parks & Wildlife Service of the Department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht.

The hen harrier is protected by the EU Birds Directive and listed on Annex 1 and as such monitoring, research and protected areas are a vital component for the conservation of the species. In addition, survey and monitoring data collected during national surveys are vitally important as these data are used by the government and other agencies to help inform management and conservation decisions. Several declines were recorded during the last survey in 2010 and it is important that we re-survey to establish the status of the species in Ireland.

Similar to previous years the survey will cover all suitable hen harrier habitats within 10km grid squares during the breeding season (April to August) and perhaps you would like to undertake the same squares you participated in during the previous surveys. New surveyors are very welcome and training will be provided during some nationwide workshops later this month.

We would like to invite you to participate in the upcoming survey and hope you will enjoy the fieldwork and the collection of this important data. We hope you will consider volunteering to support this conservation task and hope you will all be able to cover a 10km square (or two) or perhaps put together your own small team and cover a number of squares. Standardised methods will be available at the workshops and by email.

We look forward to working with all of you over the coming months. If there is anything you need from us for in relation to the survey please feel free to contact any of us at any time by email or by phone, contact details below.  

We also invite you to attend any (or all) of the up-coming survey training workshops which will cover hen harrier ecology, methods, reporting and other research opportunities during the course of the survey.  These workshops will also allow people to meet other fieldworkers and discuss the methods and survey requirements. Survey material will be available at the workshops, but we will also forward potential survey allocations, recording forms and detailed survey instructions electronically in due course. If you wish to participate in the survey but are unable to attend any of the workshops, please let us know and we will forward all information electronically.

Participation on the workshops is free. Whilst numbers are not limited, we ask you to indicate your preferred venue and date and register in order that we may estimate numbers of participants with the hotels for catering purposes. Please browse through the workshop material and then follow the instructions on the booking form to confirm your preferred venue or correspondence details for electronic communication in relation to the surveys.


Dr Marc Ruddock                                            Dr Allan Mee                             Mr John Lusby

Tel. +353 (0) 873578590                                 Tel: +353 (0) 873117608           Tel. +353 (0) 85 7201892

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In order to book a place on one of the workshops please click on the following link:


Workshops will be taking place at:


1) Charleville. Charleville Park Hotel, Main Limerick Road, Co. Cork.Saturday 21st March 2015.

Web:                             Phone: +353(0) 6333700


2) Charleville. Charleville Park Hotel, Main Limerick Road, Co. Cork.Monday 23rd March 2015.

Web:                             Phone: +353(0) 6333700


3) Athlone. Hodson Bay Hotel Athlone, Co. Westmeath. Saturday 21st March 2015.

Web:                                     Phone: +353 (0) 906442000


4) Gort. Lady Gregory Hotel. Ennis Road, Gort, Co. Galway, Monday 23rd March 2015.

Web:                                      Phone: +353 (0) 91632333


5) Donegal. Mill Park Hotel. The Mullins, Donegal Town, Co. Donegal. Tuesday 24th March.

Web:                                        Phone: +353 (0) 749722880


6) Cavan. Errigal Country House Hotel, Cavan Road, Cavan Town, Co. Cavan Wednesday 25th March 2015

Web:                                            Phone: +353 (0) 495556904


7) Wicklow. Wicklow Mountains National Park, Kilafin, Laragh, Co. Wicklow. Wednesday 8th April 2015.

Web:            Phone: +353 (0) 40445800



Parking is available at all locations free of charge


Participants will be provided with tea/coffee on arrival, lunch is not provided but all hotels can cater for lunch at reasonable rates.


Accommodation is not included and participants are responsible for making their own arrangements, if required.


Participants will need to bring a notebook and pen to the workshop. Hand-outs (hard copy and electronic data sheets) will be provided.



0930 - 1000am    Arrival & Tea/Coffee

1000am    Hen Harrier Ecology (Short break 1130)

·         Description

-Physical characteristics



·         Behaviour

-Breeding biology

-Dispersal & survival

-Winter ecology

·         Population & status


-Conservation status

- Population size

-Population distribution

National Hen Harrier Survey 2015

·         Introduction

-Aims & objectives

-Licensing & disturbance

-Access issues

·         Field surveys

-Defining the survey area

-Timing of surveys

-Available resources

-Habitat mapping

-Health & safety

·         Establishing territory occupancy

·         Establishing breeding outcome

-Proof of breeding


-Classifying nest habitat

·         Other behaviours & habitat

·         Data recording & reporting

Other Recording

·         Recording threats and pressures in the area

·         Recording other priority bird species

·         Recording of prey or feather samples

1230pm   Survey area allocation

1330pm   Summation & Close

Standardised recording forms, method statements and maps will be available at the workshops, but will also be circulated electronically to all survey participants.