By Bohuš Číčel (http://www.flickr.com/photos/bcicel/) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia CommonsTomorrow is the 40th birthday of the UK’s membership of the European Union (EU, formerly European Community, formerly European Economic Community). When the UK joined the EU, with Denmark and Ireland, we brought the EU to a gang of nine (France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands).
Now the EU is a gang of 27 (28 when Croatia joins in July) with the addition of Greece (1981), Spain and Portugal (1986), Finland, Sweden and Austria (1995), Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia (2004), Bulgaria and Romania (2007).
There are over 500 species of bird which occur regularly in the European continent – how many species do you think are found as breeding species in every EU country from Ireland to Romania and from the Azores (Portugal) to Finland? And they all have to breed in little Luxembourg too.
I’ll give you my best guess at the answer at 11pm tonight – I wouldn’t want you to enter 2013 in a state of ornithological distraction.