birds

A little egret.

Rare and wonderful UK birds facing extinction because of climate change - report

Brendan Montague
| 5th December 2017
Report warns many rare breeding birds are at a high risk of extinction in the UK, based on projections of how climate will become less suitable for these species. Climate change will provide opportunities for some species while others will be more vulnerable, according to the latest research. Migratory birds are arriving in the UK earlier each Spring and leaving later each Autumn. BRENDAN MONTAGUE reports.

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Dartford Warbler in the Thames Basin Heaths area at Chobham Common, Woking, Surrey, UK. Photo: Phil Fiddes via Flickr (CC BY).

EU wildlife laws must be celebrated and retained!

Jeremy Robson
Nottingham Trent University
| 30th March 2017
Government promises of 'leaving our environment better than we found it' are melting away in the heat of Brexit, writes Jeremy Robson. Ministers have said that a third of all EU environmental laws may never be transposed into UK statute, while many Tory MPs are anxious to rip away the 'red tape' that prevents building on precious nature sites. We must make British nature great again!

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Robin caught in a mist net on the British military base in Cyprus. Photo: RSPB / Birdlife Cyprus.

Cyprus: time to crack down on Mediterranean's biggest songbird massacre

Jamie Wyver
| 16th March 2017
The illegal trapping of birds on Cyprus is taking place on an industrial scale, writes Jamie Wyver, and the biggest hotspot is on a British army base where over 800,000 birds were killed last year. It's time for the British and Cyprus governments to confront the criminals, clear the acacia bushes in which the birds are trapped, and close the illegal restaurants serving them as 'delicacies'.

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Some of the 17,000 poultry at an intensive chicken farm in Pennsylvania, USA, which produces 2.5 million chicks each year. Photo: Lance Cheung / US Department of Agriculture via Flickr (CC BY).

Deadly bird flu strains created by industrial poultry farms

Robert G. Wallace
| 30th January 2017
As deadly H5Nx bird flu strains diversify in giant, fast-rotation flocks and and adapt to poultry that tens of thousands of human handlers care for and process every day, the emergence of a deadly human-specific flu becomes ever more likely, writes Robert G. Wallace. The industry can no longer blame wild birds for the problems it is creating - and must urgently reform its own practices.

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A portrait of Luc taken in the Rheinthal (Switzerland) in May 2007.

Heaven's eyes: Luc Hoffmann, unsung hero of nature conservation

James Breiding
| 23rd November 2016
Born into the wealthy family that founded the Roche pharmaceutical and chemical giant, Luc Hoffman turned his back on the comforts of wealth at an early age, writes James Breiding, and dedicated his life, and his money, to conservation. We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to this man of few words, encyclopedic knowledge, decisive action and unswerving commitment.

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Shooting grouse in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire. Photo: Richard Woffenden via Flickr (CC BY).

Time to close down Britain's devastating grouse-shooting industry

Eduardo Goncalves
| 18th August 2016
The disappearance of a satellite-tagged hen harrier on a Scottish grouse moor and the loss of eight Golden eagles in five years provide the latest evidence for a ban on driven grouse-shooting, writes EDUARDO GONCALVES. But birds of prey are only the most high-profile victims of a cruel and ecologically destructive industry.

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'The most perfect thing - inside (and outside ) a bird's egg' - from front cover.

The most perfect thing - inside (and outside) a bird's egg

Martin Spray
| 7th June 2016
Birds eggs are wonderful, as Tim Birkhead makes clear in his new book. But they are also enigmatic, mysterious, their secrets not lightly surrendered. Every kind of egg is perfect in its own way, writes Martin Spray, but the logic that underlies their characteristic designs, colours and shapes eludes the most assiduous of oologists.

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Reindeer and Khanty children in the Numto Nature Preserve in 2006. Photo: Irina Kazanskaya via Flickr (CC BY).

Siberia's Heavenly Lake and 'small peoples' of the High North at risk from oil drilling

Elena Sakirko
Konstantin Fomin
| 28th February 2016
A vital nature preserve in western Siberia, and the indigenous peoples that inhabit it, are at risk from oil development, write Elena Sakirko & Konstantin Fomin. Oil giant Surgutneftegas is already active in the Numto Park, but now they want to extend operations into its fragile wetlands, putting at risk snow cranes, the Heavenly Lake, and the survival of the Nenet and Khanty peoples.

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A caged Heart of England partridge debeaked and fitted with metal beak 'bit'. Photo: League Against Cruel Sports.

The plight of the partridge: confined, distressed, maimed - then shot for fun

Dr Toni Shephard
| 15th December 2015
Forget pear trees. Today's partridges are unlikely to have seen much beyond the barren confines of their cages until they are released to be shot, writes Toni Shephard. A new investigation by the League Against Cruel Sports reveals that thousands of partridges will spend Christmas, like every other day, imprisoned on the farms that supply shooting estates.

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Victims of the pine bark beetle: Lodgepole pines in Summit County, Colorado. They may not look pretty, but these dead trees are an ecological godsend. Photo: V Smoothe via Flickr (CC BY).

In defense of the Bark Beetle: a keystone species of Western forest ecosystems

Chad Hanson
| 28th October 2015
Bark beetles are invariably presented as terrible, forest killing pests, writes Chad Hanson. But in truth forest biodiversity depends on them to create the snags for insects to burrow in, woodpeckers to feed off, and countless birds and even pine martens to nest in. So when you hear politicians calling for bark beetle 'salvage' logging, send them off with a flea in the ear!

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A pair of Lappet Faced Vultures feating on a buffralo carcass in Bariadi, Shinyanga, Tanzania. Photo: jjmusgrove via Flickr (CC BY).

Vultures in crisis: poachers and poison threaten nature's undertakers

Louis Phipps
Nottingham Trent University
| 25th October 2015
Vultures are superbly adapted creatures for the essential role they play, efficiently disposing of the mortal remains of millions of dead animals, writes Louis Phipps. Yet we humans appear to be doing our best to kill them off - creating a vast hazardous waste problem that's costing us billions.

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Pheasants reared for shooting kept on a cold and uncomfortable wire floor. Photo: League Against Cruel Sports.

Pheasant shooting begins today - and forget the rural idyll!

Toni Shephard
| 1st October 2015
This is the first day of the pheasant shooting season, writes Toni Shephard. But put bucolic ideas of happy birds running around in the wild woods out of your mind. Most of the birds coming under shotgun fire today have only just been released from overcrowded factory farms. Even in death they have no dignity: most are not even eaten, but end up dumped in makeshift pits.

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Too beautiful to die by plastic: Laysan Albatross mate for life, live 60 years or more, and show their soft, sensitive side by preening each other. Photo: kris krüg / midwayjourney.com via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Ocean plastic plague threatens seabirds

Chris Wilcox
Britta Denise Hardesty
Erik van Sebille
| 1st September 2015
Already 60% of seabird species have plastic in their guts, often as much as 8% of their body weight. And with ocean plastic increasing exponentially, that figure will rise to 99% by 2050, threatening some birds' survival. Unless we act.

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The Dalmatian pelican suffered large declines in the last centuries due to habitat loss and degradation and persecution, but thanks to habitat management and restoration the population in Europe is recovering and the species is no longer at risk. Photo: B

One fifth of Europe's birds are in danger of extinction

The Ecologist
| 3rd June 2015
Conservation projects have pulled several endangered European birds back from the brink of extinction, but habitat loss, industrial farming, over fishing and climate change all represent growing threats that requires broader and deeper change in the EU and beyond.

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Nightingale in full song, perched in a hawthorn bush. Photo: Kev Chapman via Flickr (CC BY).

Don't let our nightingales go quietly!

Chris Rose
| 7th May 2015
Nightingales, famous for the entrancing beauty of their song, have declined by 90% over the last 50 years, writes Chris Rose, and are heading towards their very own silent spring. The first step to saving this wonderful bird must be for us to fully appreciate it, and the terrible loss its extinction would represent.

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A nightingale in full song. Photo: courtesy of David Plummer Images.

Moonlit melody - the resurgent nightingales of Knepp

Hazel Sillver
| 7th May 2015
At the inspiring new 3,500 acre 'wildland' of the Knepp Estate in West Sussex, the nightingale is making itself at home amid the thorny thickets, writes Hazel Sillver. That's proof to any that need it that the bird's extinction is far from inevitable - if only we can muster the will to save it! It also offers a wonderful opportunity to hear its magical song ...

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