Editorials

Unfortunately, a small number of defective copies of the December issue of BB have been despatched to subscribers – if you have one, please let Hazel Jenner know – send her an e-mail with your name (and address or subscriber number) and we’ll send out a fresh copy.

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Veganism is nothing new – it’s been an important part of some cultures for hundreds of years and has been gaining popularity in the UK since the middle of the last century. Recently, however, the number of vegans has grown more quickly and there are now over 500,000 in the UK compared with around 150,000 a decade ago…

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Mrs Pankhurst’s Purple Feather: fashion, fury and feminism – women’s fight for change, by Tessa Boase, was published by Aurum Press in May 2018. If they ever make a drama out of the (Royal) Society for the Protection of Birds’ origins, based on this book, it might open like this:

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Dramatic images of seabirds, entangled in netting or with their stomach cut open to reveal ingested plastic, generate stark headlines from news outlets and on social media, and tug at our heartstrings. Yet, with 4.8–12.7 million metric tonnes of plastic estimated to enter our oceans every year it is hardly surprising that seabirds have to contend with the potential problems…

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It’s the middle Friday in July and the British Birds newsletter has arrived; I reach down to pick the envelope off the doormat…

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While some might view the successful adaptations of large gulls as a refreshing counterpoint to the general, depressing trend of species being pushed to extinction by human activities, this perspective is not dominant…

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In ornithological company, the concept of climate change is usually discussed in terms of measurable impacts on bird populations and habitats, rarely on the way that it may affect the practice of birdwatching itself…

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Stepping off the Orient Express in Istanbul in April 1966, I wasn’t aware of what the next 50 years would open my eyes to in the world of Islam. The haunting voice of the Muezzin calling the faithful to prayer from the Blue Mosque rang over the city and, as I look back, may have been saying: ‘Young man, the Middle East is now your ornithological playground.’

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Nowadays, we take it for granted that we can identify most bird species, but it wasn’t always like this. Early ornithologists often found it extremely difficult to distinguish one species from another, especially in groups like raptors, waders and warblers…

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The recent BB paper on IUCN threat assessments was an interesting and thought-provoking read, although I struggled to see how the results would be especially useful for bird conservation, despite assertions to the contrary. We seem to be awash with ever more refined and complex assessments of the status and conservation priority of birds (and other species)…

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