Stubbs was one of the more original and sceptical ornithologists of the early twentieth century. One of his more interesting discoveries was that misinterpretation of British medieval literature had resulted in references to Little Egrets Egretta garzetta being attributed to Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus. His examination of early literature showed that, contrary to popular belief, Little Egrets must have bred in Britain in the past.The occurrence in Britain of Night Herons Nycticorax nycticorax during medieval times has also been overlooked.The disappearance of these species as breeding birds from Britain may have been due to overexploitation and drainage, but seems more likely to have been a consequence of the onset of the Little Ice Age.ne of the least-studied aspects of British ornithology is the twilit zone between the end of the archaeological record in the Middle Ages and the beginning of modern history in the sixteenth century (Harrison 1988). Much of our present understanding of this period is confused, largely because those who recorded information, and many who havesubsequently tried to interpret it (see, for example, fig. 1), appear to have had little understanding of the likely species involved. Furthermore, the original common names of many species are now lost in the mists of history and speculation about them has replaced knowledge. The resulting confusion has tended to bring the subject into disrepute.Examples of the information available about some fifteenth-century feasts include a description of King Henry VI’s coronation on 6th November 1429, when the menu listed `Swanne, Capyn, Hayryn,
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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.