Editorials

I’ve fairly recently moved in to live with my partner. An eyebrow was raised about the number of books I brought with me. In reality, it was only about a quarter of my entire book collection but that’s enough to have turned the small spare bedroom of our London flat into something that more closely resembles a library…

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Having made a recent, supposedly one-off, foray into the business of optical reviews, I felt I could hardly say no when the nice people at ZEISS wanted to send me their new telescope, the Gavia 85, to look at…

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Many birdwatchers have a special place where they go in times of stress, or just to enjoy being close to nature. One of my favourite places is the Tower Hide at Wicken Fen, in Cambridgeshire, at dusk. Perhaps I am especially attracted to it because the tower is of a similar age to me and still standing strong. The hide offers panoramic views across the Fen…

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When J. N. Hollyer pointed out that Continental Song Thrushes had a flight call rather like that of the Redwing, Richard Fitter, who had mentioned this (somewhat obliquely) in his Collins pocket guide, wrote that he should have taken advice given him long before by David Lack: ‘new facts should always be recorded in papers, not books, which obviously nobody ever reads!’…

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Very occasionally, BB has offered to publicise a one-off product review on its website, and this is another of those situations. When ZEISS offered up a pair of its new SF 8×42 binoculars, I was sufficiently intrigued to say yes. Given that I have used one of the new model’s predecessors – the ZEISS FL 8×42 – since 2008, I was keen to inspect the development of the company’s flagship binocular, and whether significant improvements had been made…

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I began my study of House Sparrows Passer domesticus in 1947. I have now watched them in more than 70 countries, from sea level in Tierra del Fuego to over 2,000 m in the Himalayas; from a dentist’s chair in Newbury to 340 m below ground in Frickley Colliery in Yorkshire, where a pair successfully reared three young. They still surprise and fascinate me…

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The fact that vultures are in serious decline over most of Asia and Africa is attracting increasing international attention. Asian vulture populations are thought to stand now at less than 1% of their numbers only 25 years ago, and African populations have collapsed over the past decade or more. In every case, this is due primarily or entirely to increased poisoning…

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It’s a question we’ve all got used to hearing over the years: ‘Where have all the young birders gone?’ Well, I’ve got news for you – they’re back!

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Straddling the border between Poland and Belarus, the Białowieża Forest is all that remains of the primeval lowland forests that once covered almost the whole of Europe. At present, it is the only place in Europe where patches of primeval forest still survive…

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Andy Clements is Director of the BTO, and has worked in conservation for more than 30 years. Here he gives a personal reflection on his own experience of how Europe can shape our achievements, and thus what he suggests we might bear in mind when contemplating how to vote in the imminent referendum…

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