I have an article in the current issue of The Field and one in the current issue of Birdwatch magazine and both are on hen harriers.
Not surprisingly, given their readerships, the two articles are written from slightly different perspectives.
I have both magazines in my hands right now and they are interestingly different. I know of a very few people who have read both articles but I am fairly sure that there aren’t that many.
For those of you who have never picked up either, and are considering which way to reach out in WH Smith, then for your £4.10 (Birdwatch, 88 pages) or £4.20 (The Field, 188 pages) there are significant differences which can be illustrated by the number of times that various things are pictured on their respective pages.
For the November issues (December’s will be out soon for both, and both contain more words from me) if you see a dog, horse, gun or dead bird then you have picked up The Field but if you are looking at a telescope you have Birdwatch.
The Field does have more than twice as many pages but it has more than 10 times the number of images of people between its covers. And it may surprise you that the gender ratio is two and a half men for every woman in The Field (including the only nude person in either magazine) but over four men per woman in Birdwatch.
Each man featured in The Field, if he were to wander through its pages looking for companionship, would find less than half a woman but be compensated by having about half a dog, a tenth of a horse and a whole gun to cuddle back at home, but he’d be struggling to find a pair of binoculars (7 binoculars shared between 400 blokes!).
His alter ego in Birdwatch (all 40 of them) would only find a quarter of a woman, no dogs, no horses and no guns, but would find some compensation in having two binoculars and a telescope all to himself. And using those optics he could look at 185 images of live birds (and no dead ones) whereas when his mate in The Field had stopped patting his dog and horse he could only find about 50 images of live birds but 20 of dead ones.
And, of course, the live (and dead) birds on show are rather different. The world of The Field is filled with pheasants, red grouse, grey partridges and the occasional duck and woodcock which don’t get much of a look in in Birdwatch. But its pages are filled with a cornucopia of birds, from the UK and from much farther away, including difficult gulls, rare American waders and passerines, avocets, spoonbills and little auks.