Eaton et al. (2009) acknowledged that the listing for races of conservation concern in BoCC3 may have been `less robust than that for species’. They noted also that the BOU checklist of the birds of Britain, last revised in 2006 (Dudley et al. 2006), did not provide `a definitive starting point’ for their purposes, owing to differences of opinion on the validity of some races. In the last decade, I have raised this issue in letters or conversations with six members of the BOU Records Committee, BirdLife International and two national museums and also three old friends expert in taxonomy and conservation. My main point was that our duty of care for endemic taxa would never be exercised properly until there had been a reassessment of them using modern study disciplines. The professional responses varied, from expressions of little or no belief in the study value of subspecies to admissions of insufficient resources to judge species, let alone subspecies. They contrasted sharply with our elders’ enthusiasm for the task. Depressingly, I concluded that there was no chance of concerted establishment will to address the problem. Nonetheless, after the introduction of some subspecies into the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (see, for example, Eaton et al. 2007) and the listing of even more in BoCC3, the British conservation lobby clearly desires a new drive towards a definitive subject list. The forthcoming Status of Birds in Britain and Ireland (D. T. Parkin & A. G. Knox in prep.) will certainly help since, apart
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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.