Looking back over more than half a lifetime, I recollect the international ornithological scene being increasingly dominated by the debonair figure of my near-contemporary, Erwin Stresemann of the museum at Berlin. I first met him at the VII International Ornitholocal Congress at Amsterdam in 1930, when he read a keynote paper on the anatomy and physiology of birds. He was currently (1927-34) publishing one of the great technical bibles of our subject, the volume on ‘Aves’ in the Handbuch der Zoologie (volume 7, part 2) edited by Kiikenthal and Krumbach. He was at that meeting elected as the next international president. So at the VIII Congress at Oxford in 1934 he was our president at the early age of 44–and there was dancing in the hall of Exeter College, to the music of the Coldstream Guards, for the first time (it was said) for six hundred years. In his address, he reviewed the ornithological events of the half-century since the first international meeting in Vienna in 1884. Although his interests were by no means confined to the museum, he was primarily a systematist, and I have no competence to assess his contribution in that special sphere. I think of him, however, as having a particular interest in Indonesia and in the flycatchers there which make it so difficult to determine a familial separation between that group and the warblers. During 1939-41 he published (in the Journal fur Ornitkologie) a big zoogeographical paper on the birds of the Celebes; much later,
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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 £40,000 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.