David Lindo, the Urban Birder, has launched a vote, whose winner will be announced on election day next year, for Britain’s National Bird.
On the long shortlist of 60 species there are a few that would be very odd choices – the Pheasant and the Ring-necked Parakeet for example, as non-native species. It would also seem a little odd to choose a summer or winter visitor to our country as ‘our’ national bird so that, to my mind, removes about half the list and species such as Swallow and Waxwing. But maybe I am being too scientific and rational about this.
It can’t be a duck – can it? Somehow I just don’t think my national bird can be a duck.
I guess we go for a bird that we know and we like. It’s likely to be a familiar garden bird with a pleasant song, isn’t it? You can see why the Robin breasted the tape first last time around and I assume that Blackbird and Song Thrush were in the photo finish for second. I wonder what the order was.
A case can certainly be made for Red Grouse, as a British race of a much more widespread species with a cultural significance (even if its significance is that we kill it for fun), but it is quite difficult to imagine the great British public thinking that the Red Grouse is ‘their’ bird in a public vote. If it did well, it would help any campaign to ban driven grouse shooting though. Which country would chase its national bird across its nesting habitat so that it can be shot out of the air? Tempting…
Or why not choose the Red Grouse’s favourite raptor – the Hen Harrier. What a way to follow up on Hen Harrier Day by voting for the country’s most persecuted protected bird.
Wouldn’t it be awful if the Linnet won?