Make your choices

The Birdwatch Birders’ Choice Awards are now open for your votes – and there are some very difficult choices too.

Who will be Conservation Hero? Will it be Helen Glover and Steve Backshall who raised £300,000 for the World Land Trust (of which I am a trustee)? Or my friend Ruth Peacey who has supported the ‘ban driven grouse shooting’ campaign in many ways but is better known for her work on Malta with Chris Packham? Or perhaps another friend, Tim Appleton for a massive fundraising success of a Bird Fair over the years? Difficult choice indeed.


How about the Campaign of the Year? For me it is between the RSPB-led ‘Save Lodge Hill’ campaign and the ‘Refuse the Straw’ campaign (other choices are available) – again a bit of a coin toss for me.


I like the Guano Award idea – but things don’t get easy here. Should it be Donald Trump (for so many reasons – but will he take any notice at all?), or the Maltese government (a good choice) or perhaps the Polish so-called environment minister who is allowing and encouraging parts of Bialowieza forest to be felled? Anybody got a three sided coin?


The Birding News category felt quite easy for me as I skipped the first three items (but have a look yourself) and alighted on the amazing news of the Pallid Harriers breeding in the Netherlands  – that’s it I thought. And then I saw that the next item was the report on satellite-tagged Golden Eagles in Scotland that should have put to bed all the misinformation from the shooting industry about how these birds were killed by non-existent windfarms or bumped off by birders! It’s got to be the eagle story for me!

There are plenty of other categories too – and I hadn’t seen the giant bullfinch discovery on the Azores.

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2 Replies to “Make your choices”

  1. Can I suggest for the Guano Award the approach of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust in their handling and attitude towards the local community and birders of Spurn Point? Totally disregarding all the local opinion they rode roughshod and pushed through their 'vision' for a money-making monstosity of a building in a very valuable part of Spurn. Construction, including hedge clearance, began at the height of the breeding season and the approach to 'conservation' has continued in a similar vein since. There've been several blogs on here about this if anyone isn't already aware.

  2. The discovery subfossil remains of a giant bullfinch on the Azores was indeed a cracker, pleased but not surprised you're fascinated by it too. I've had trouble tracking down the specific reference but at home I've a book about the extinct birds of the Pacific Islands where the author (from memory pretty sure it's Storrs Olsen - by god those Americans have magnificent names!) mentioned that the current lack of known extinct birds from the Canaries and Azores would likely be due to lack of research and looking in the right place rather than us having a relatively intact native avian fauna there today. Well he is right - what else is there in the lava caves and swamp deposits? If this species was lost due to human impact on the Azores then it's on the same list as the dodo, Stellers sea cow, passenger pigeon and great auk. It would be a bit unrealistic to expect every human caused extinction to have the prominence of the loss of the passenger pigeon, but none the less would be good to see discoveries like this given more attention in the general media.


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