A history of British Birds

Published on 01 January 2009 in Uncategorized

trictly speaking, this editorial should have appeared in the June 2007 issue, when British Birds will be truly 100 years old. For practical purposes, however, we have decided to celebrate BB’s centenary throughout 2007 and Vol. 100 of the journal. There are so many things to look back on during the first 100 years, a mixture of milestones and watersheds, high points and low, new dawns and false dawns. For many years, BB has used the occasional series `Looking back’ to give readers a flavour of the journal 25, 50 or 75 years ago. Both the differences and the similarities between the British ornithological scene at those earlier times and now are thought-provoking. Fifty years ago, the June 1957 issue, as well as containing an editorial entitled `The First Fifty Years’, included a paper (by R. A. Richardson, M. J. Seago and A. C. Church) describing a new species for the British List in Norfolk, Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto, and another paper, by A. W. Boyd, entitled `Sewage-farms as bird-habitats’. Given what has happened since to both Collared Doves and sewage-farms, these events seem truly from another age. Yet not everything changes so dramatically, and going back to the very first issue of BB, in June 1907, it is reassuring to discover a format of main papers, notes, letters and reviews that has both stood the test of time and served this journal well. The topics covered are by no means so outdated that their only value is in historical

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