ANTING-BEHAVIOUR may be defined as the stereotyped movements with which birds, in order to get formic acid (or other organic liquids) on to the feathers for some purpose as yet not fully understood, actively apply ants (or objects in place of ants) to certain parts of the plumage, a n d / o r more or less passively allow these insects to crawl on to the plumage. Bird-watchers in the British Isles have so far lacked a readily available general review of this enigmatic behaviour. The present paper aims to provide detailed descriptions of the special movements involved (with the aid of illustrations) and to discuss the nature of anting critically. The literature of anting and the basis of the present review. No attempt will be made to trace fully the earlier history of anting in the literature. Those interested can do no better than read the account of Chisholm (1944), to whom all credit is due for first stimulating widespread interest in this very puzzling phenomenon in his book on Australian bird topics (1934). Before this, there were only scattered references (e.g. Osmaston (1909) who gave the first details of certain features of anting), but, as a direct result of Chisholm’s comments, there appeared, in the German periodical Ornithologische Monatsberichte, a series of preliminary notes, initiated by the editor Dr. E. Stresemann (Stresemann, 1935; Stresemann et al., 1935; Adlersparre, 1936; and others). Another contribution at this time came from India (Ali, 1936), after which for some years most interest
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British Birds – how it works
BB 2000 Ltd, the company that owns and publishes British Birds, is run by a board of directors, all of whom are volunteers. The company employs two full time staff – Roger Riddington is the journal’s editor while Hazel Jenner manages subscriptions and administration – and three part-time design/editorial staff.
The company is wholly owned by The British Birds Charitable Trust (BBCT, registered charity no. 1089422). Neither the company directors nor the trustees are paid for their services, providing their time and enthusiasm because they passionately believe in the value of BB. The Company is managed with a view to making a small profit which can be donated to the Trust to help fund its charitable work.
Over the past six years, this, combined with donations from other sources, has enabled the Trust to give almost £70,000 support to a variety of conservation and educational projects ranging from rat eradication on seabird islands to the study of cuckoo migration, as well as assisting young birders develop their interest.
A full list of projects is given here. The Trust is seeking to expand its charitable endeavours and would welcome donations from like-minded organisations and individuals.