British Birds February 2017, summary of contents

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Have you photographed a young Dunnock or Whinchat?

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Latest research, just published, shows a population of large gulls in Scotland failed to thrive as the fish catch landed by the local fishing fleet fell.

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Dick Forsman was already fascinated by raptors at the age of six – sketching them in chalk on the pavements of Helsinki. In the years that followed he became the best-known raptor expert in Europe, and respected worldwide for his detailed knowledge of identification, in particular his understanding of the various stages of moult. This book is a collection of photographs taken by him in his quest to find and photograph all the raptors of the Western Palearctic.
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I came to this book as an infrequent reader of memoirs and perhaps with no great enthusiasm, encouraged to take it on because of the intriguing title and the overwhelmingly favourable reviews already penned…

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Since disbanding its Taxonomic Subcommittee last year, the British Ornithologists’ Union (BOU) has made clear its intention to choose one of the global avian taxonomies to use going forward. Finally their decision has been made, and here is their announcement in full:

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Scientists from the Universities of Bristol and Groningen, in The Netherlands, have created a computer game style experiment which sheds new light on the reasons why Starlings flock in massive swirling groups over wintering grounds…

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BB grants to young birders: we are now looking for applications from young people aged 16–21 for projects in 2017…

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The number of Pochards migrating to the UK for winter has decreased by 60% since the 1980s, despite the number that breed here doubling over the same period. This decrease reflects the widespread declines in breeding numbers recorded elsewhere across Europe, of which little has been understood until now…

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Ian Carter, one of the judges for British Birds, summed up the winning book – The Birds of Spurn by Andy Roadhouse – as ‘… a hugely impressive volume, combining a comprehensive and well-organised text with a superb assemblage of artwork and photographs…

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