The subject of rewilding has received wide publicity recently, yet not too long ago this concept was familiar to just a handful of enthusiasts. It is the notion of taking large parts of the countryside and letting much of it revert back to what it looked like before either the agricultural or the industrial revolution. To many people this is just a fanciful idea that simply will not happen, because too few people really care about wildlife and because governments will always seek to please the majority and take decisions that reduce our national debt. However, within the rewilding model is an overall message that if we think only on a small scale, we will never manage to maintain habitats that support many of our currently declining bird species…

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Ospreys are, by and large, a good news story. They are recovering rapidly from past declines caused by persecution and the harmful effects of pesticides. Humans now help, rather than hinder, by putting up platforms to increase nesting opportunities and, increasingly, by translocating young birds to speed up their return to areas from which they have been lost…

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The Eagle Owl

Book reviews // 09.12.2019

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Given that the Eagle Owl is one of the world’s largest owls and occurs in most Western Palearctic countries, it comes as something of a surprise that this is the first book dedicated to it. These authors have brought together everything that is currently known about the species from studies across its range, not least from their own research, spanning 30 years in Spain, Italy, France and Finland…

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Globally, we have lost more than a third of wetlands since the 1970s, at a rate three times that of the loss of natural forests. A quarter of wetland species are at risk of extinction and, although waterbird species have a relatively low threat of global extinction compared with other taxonomic groups, most populations are in long-term decline…

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Many of the UK’s breeding birds are rare. Some have always occurred in small numbers, for example because they are top predators at the apex of their food chain or because they are highly ecologically specialised to restricted habitats. Others are rare because the UK lies at the edge of a more extensive distribution, either to the north (for example Arctic-breeding waders) or to the south (for example newly arriving herons and passerines). Yet others have become rare as a consequence of changes to their habitats. Monitoring the populations of such rare birds provides sensitive indicators of the changing state of the environment…

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Most importantly, despite all the paperwork and data input, I still manage to get out birding at least three times a week, and have been lucky enough to add two new species to the Cyprus list…

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British Birds December 2019: summary of contents

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This report presents data on scarce passerine migrants recorded in Britain during 2017…

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Ascension Island is a UK Overseas Territory in the tropical South Atlantic that supports regionally and globally important nesting populations of 11 seabird species…

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Garden Birds

Book reviews // 12.11.2019

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A lot of books, articles and leaflets have been written on and around the subject of garden birds and bird gardening, by numerous authors (me included). The appearance of one in the prestigious New Naturalist series (No. 140) might raise eyebrows, but this is something rather different. This is not a ‘popular’ or purely advisory book, but a work of ornithology in the true meaning of the word…

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