February Birdwatch (1)

There’s a cute owl on the cover of the latest Birdwatch magazine and a cute Bill Oddie too. What’s not to like? But lest you think you can just gawp at the cover in your local newsagent shop then let me tell you it’s worth sitting down with a mug of tea and some Digestive biscuits and having a good read.

There’s a debate between Chris Packham and his partner Charlotte Corney on one side and PETA’s Elisa Allen on the other about whether zoos are necessary and vital part of efforts to conserve threatened species. It’s an interesting read. My own view tends slightly more towards PETA’s view than Chris’s (shock! we don’t agree 100% about everything). I don’t think most zoos do much for nature conservation although some certainly do. But then, I’m not a great fan of animals being kept as pets – another area where Chris’s views are quite different from mine. But Chris has gone vegan, and I certainly haven’t. And he, I feel, feels more strongly about some other animal welfare issues than I do. I don’t think we’ll fall out about these differences, and I don’t think we’ll ever think we are on different sides of the big debate. But the article is a good read – I’ll read it again soon (which is very unusual for me and a magazine article).

Dan Rouse looks at waterbirds and whether some should be moved onto Category A by the BOURC. If you don’t know what Category A is, and why it matters to some birders, then you might either want to skip this article or read it several times to try to understand birders’ minds.

And there is a review of 2019 and of rarity records from December 2019.

And there is more, including my column – I’ll come back to it tomorrow.

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