Editorials

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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Following changes made to the roles of the directors and trustees in the management of British Birds, the trustees have decided to enhance the role of the BB Trust and its charitable activities. The Trust now welcomes donations to help fund its grants, or to fund specific projects…

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The massive declines in most farmland bird species that have occurred since the 1970s have not been conspicuously reversed in recent years, despite the wide uptake of agri-environment measures by farmers. This is the conclusion one would draw from the Breeding Bird Survey and other national monitoring schemes run by the BTO. But what about the situation at a more local scale?

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Our scientific programmes bring together team members, students, volunteers and visiting researchers to provide the foundations needed for informed protection and management. Each year around 25,000 people take part in our environmental education programmes: workshops, wildlife clubs, summer camps, school visits, etc. Like everyone else, we work hard to enrol new supporters and struggle to raise sufficient funds…

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One Sunday last July I strolled down to the hide at RSPB Otmoor, one of my local birding patches in Oxfordshire. Five years ago I might have entered an empty hide. Not anymore. The place was packed with bird photographers, happily chatting as they waited patiently for the shot…

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Seventy-three years a birdwatcher, I am back at base camp: a landlocked farmland patch…

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