I T has always been a disputed point as to whether the Rook (Oorvus f. frugihgus) gets its bare ” face ” by means of abrasion of the feathers or by a moult. Most ornithologists have favoured the moult theory or have regarded it as a ” natural peculiarity.” This conclusion has been reached, however, by inference rather than by actual experiment. A few somewhat trivial experiments have been made with captive birds, but no proper investigation of the subject has hitherto been undertaken so far as I am aware. Waterton (Essays on Natural History, First Series, 1838) appears to have thought that he had solved the problem when the feathers on the face of a young Rook, kept in a cage by a keeper, began to fall out in the middle of August. Unfortunately the bird met with a fatal accident at the end of August, so t h a t although Waterton had good reason for saying ” that the feathers fall off from the root of the Rook’s bill, by the order of nature,” he did not realize t h a t had the bird lived a little longer new feathers would have grown ” by the order of nature,” and that the bird would have had a fully-feathered face as part of its first winter-plumage. Knox (Zoologist, 1844, pp. 628-33) made a closer investigation, but for want of sufficient care he also eame to wrong conclusions. He kept young Rooks in captivity and found that they
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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.