• New power brings a noisy spring

    We live in amazing times. 

    In the week of mass demonstrations by Extinction Rebellion in London, the incredible life-force that is Greta Thunberg gave her blunt assessment of the UK’s track record on tackling climate change (“beyond absurd”) and laid a gauntlet to build climate change thinking into all parts of decision-making.

    Her own Friday-school strike was the catalyst for an estimated 1.6 million…

    • 26 Apr 2019
  • Two bits of good news for a Friday: for sand martins and for RSPB reserves

    A week is a long time in Norfolk.  

    There was a public outcry when a video appeared last Friday of a sand martin returning from migration and failing to access a nesting burrow because nets had been laid over a 1.3km stretch of Bacton cliffs on the Norfolk coast.  This was just one example of hundreds of images and videos of netting that have been shared this spring.  It has led to two petitions on the Number 10 website, an int…

    • 12 Apr 2019
  • Rebirding: a new agenda to drive nature’s recovery?

    There is a new book out tomorrow that captures the current zeitgeist to drive nature’s recovery.

    It’s called Rebirding and it is written by wildlife television field director, conservation writer and lifelong birder Ben MacDonald.

    It is a beautifully written, thoughtful and, yes, provocative book.

    First documenting and diagnosing the decline of our wild birds, Ben then offers an ambitious and alternative…

    • 7 Apr 2019
  • Good news for a Friday: together, we can let nature sing

    @Nicky13Johnson posted this delightful tweet yesterday accompanied by a video of a robin singing:

    If you could listen to just one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?  I choose birdsong.”

    I know that Nicky is not alone. 

    Today, we report that almost half a million people across the UK took part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch this year counting more than 7.5 million birds in total.  House…

    • 5 Apr 2019
  • Climate solutions, naturally

    I am an unapologetic optimist, but it can be hard to be upbeat with the current political turmoil and intensely challenging messages on climate change, plastic pollution and “insectmageddon”.

    Amid the gloom, we need reasons to be cheerful, so I’m delighted to have one to share with you today: an exciting global call to action for Natural Climate Solutions.

    I know, more jargon, but Natural Climate Solutions…

    • 3 Apr 2019
  • Good news of a Friday: floating an idea for a different future for offshore wind energy

    When the RSPB launched its Energy Futures report in 2016, we offered a vision for how we could tackle climate change by driving the much needed energy revolution in harmony with nature. 

    We demonstrated that it was possible to generate up to four times the UK’s current energy consumption through low ecological risk renewables.  What’s more, we offered three scenarios as to how this could be achieved including what…

    • 29 Mar 2019
  • An update on the RSPB’s legal challenge of Natural England’s decision to grant licenses to trial brood management of hen harriers

    A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the disappointing news that we had lost our legal challenge of Natural England’s decision to issue licences to trial the so-called brood management scheme for hen harriers. I said then that we would take time to assess the judgement before determining next steps.

    As a charity, we need to weigh up the pros and cons of any course of action and make sure that we are using our funds…

    • 27 Mar 2019
  • 15 years

    I was reminded this week, via the curious medium of LinkedIn, that I have now been at the RSPB for 15 years.  My mind went immediately went back to March 2004 and I reflected on what’s changed and what has, for better or worse, stayed the same.

    Back then, I had no children, lived in London, was enjoying watching my football team become invincible* and had just bid fond farewell to my former employer, Plantlife International…

    • 21 Mar 2019
  • Reaction to the judgement on our legal challenge against Natural England’s decision to grant licenses to trial brood management of hen harriers

    This morning Mrs Justice Lang handed down her judgment on the legal challenges that the RSPB and Dr Mark Avery had taken against Natural England and the decision to issue licences to trial the so-called brood management scheme for hen harriers.

    I’m sorry to say that the ruling was not in our favour - we lost the case.

    This is bitterly disappointing for all those who have worked tirelessly on this case and for all…

    • 14 Mar 2019
  • A comment on the environmental credentials of the Chancellor’s Spring Statement

    Amid the political maelstrom surrounding Brexit this week, Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, delivered a Spring Statement today which gave us grounds for cautious optimism.

    As I commented previously, even with existing levels of protection and funding we have failed to halt the loss of biodiversity, let alone made a serious progress with its recovery.  Even the UK Government’s own (slightly rose-tinted)…

    • 13 Mar 2019
  • The Time Is Now

    Sometimes it only takes one person to change the course of history.

    Just look at Greta Thunberg, the Swedish schoolgirl who hit the news recently because of her climate strikes. It started in August last year when Greta sat outside Swedish Parliament every school day for three weeks in protest at Sweden’s lack of progress on tackling climate change. In September she vowed to strike every Friday until Swedish policies…

    • 10 Mar 2019
  • Good news for a Friday: a round up of this week’s news

    Here are few things you may have missed if you have been a bit busy or distracted this week…

    …the new “Sector Deal” partnership announced yesterday between the UK Government and the offshore wind sector is a big deal.  It signals the latest steps towards a low carbon future with the promise of a tripling of the amount of energy generated by offshore wind farms by 2030.  For nearly two decades,…

    • 8 Mar 2019
  • Love Minsmere? Tell EDF to protect it

    The RSPB's Regional Director for Eastern England, Jeff Knott, explains what it will take to ensure one of the UK’s most important sites for nature is protected from harm as EDF Energy look to build Sizewell C next door.

    On Monday 25 February,  EDF Energy issued a statement setting out how they propose to address the potential for Sizewell C nuclear power plant to have a significant negative impact on neighbouri…

    • 7 Mar 2019
  • Bird Therapy: guest blog by Joe Harkness

    Joe Harkness has been writing his Bird Therapy blog for the last three years. He has written for Birdwatch magazine, The Curlew and the i newspaper, amongst others. Joe also speaks about his experiences and has recorded three ‘tweets of the day’ for BBC Radio 4. He works as a Special Educational Needs Coordinator and has worked with vulnerable groups for nine years. He lives in Norfolk.


    Six years ago, I…

    • 5 Mar 2019
  • Helping nature's clean-up crew

    Vultures are in trouble. My colleague Lizzie Bruce explains what the problem is and what she's doing to help

    Do you remember the BBC series Dynasties? Do you remember watching the young lion and its aunt die from eating a poisoned carcass? I do. I cried. I wanted to do something about it.

    The lions filmed were from Kenya. Poisoned carcasses left out by local farmers to protect their grazing animals. Yet these poisoned…

    • 3 Mar 2019
  • Why close co-operation with the European Union is safer for nature

    Birds and other migratory wildlife do not respect borders, and the challenges facing nature are too big to be solved by any one country alone. Ever since tackling the global plumage trade in the nineteenth century, the RSPB has been committed to comprehensive international agreements for nature conservation.  

    For example, here in the temperate latitudes of the northern hemisphere, around half of our bird species migrate…

    • 18 Feb 2019
  • Good news for a Friday: there is some!

    Here is some good news that you may missed...

    ...an assessment compiled by the Web of Science has shown that three NGOs (BirdLife International, BTO and the RSPB) are in the top 6 of UK institutions that undertake the highest impact research on biodiversity conservation.  That is why, in a letter in Nature published this week, the top scientists from BirdLife International, RSPB and BTO suggest that "NERC could better…

    • 15 Feb 2019
  • Tomorrow's storm predicted today

    Whilst looking at twitter on Sunday evening I saw this amazing tweet from New Zealand.  The sheer number of moths involved reminded me of the ‘moth snowstorm’ that environmental journalist Mike McCarthy described in his wonderful book of the very same name. A sight that no longer occurs in the UK. A thing of the past.

    So, it was sobering to see Monday’s Guardian front page carry the story about ‘insect-ageddon…

    • 12 Feb 2019
  • Why the Prime Minister must now act to protect environmental standards

    Last week, the Prime Minister promised the House of Commons that ‘we must and will embed the strongest possible protections for workers’ rights and the environment’ after Brexit.  She also indicated that the UK should match (and in our view hopefully exceed) future EU environmental protections and indicated a willingness to legislate ‘to ensure that those commitments are binding’.

    These are…

    • 6 Feb 2019
  • Saving species from extinction: an update on the Gough Island Restoration Programme

    Planning to remove invasive mice from a UK Overseas Territory to save two Critically Endangered species from extinction has stepped up in recent weeks.  The Gough Island Restoration Programme is one of the RSPB’s highest priorities and we are determined to get the best plan together to give ourselves the greatest chance of success.

    If you have been watching closely, you will know that we decided to delay the proposed…

    • 3 Feb 2019
  • My #BigGardenBirdWatch

    My weekend started badly.

    An evening with my neighbour was spoilt by the failure of our football team to progress to the next round of the FA Cup.

    I used the excuse of a radio interview (a pre-record with LBC) to escape the misery after our opponents scored their third goal.  It was cathartic to have the chance to talk about the benefits of spending an hour watching birds in your garden before a segway into what we need…

    • 27 Jan 2019
  • Good news for a Friday: you can now buy chocolate, eat it and help save a rainforest

    The long wait is over and you can now buy chocolate bars made from forest-friendly cocoa grown by the communities living around the Gola Rainforest in Sierra Leone.  Our Gola Rainforest chocolate is now available to buy online and will be in our shops on our nature reserves in the next days.

    This is a great achievement and is a result of five years hard work by our team working with farmers who live in and around Gola.

    • 18 Jan 2019
  • Why a ‘no deal’ Brexit increases risks to the environment

    Following the comprehensive rejection of the Prime Minister’s proposed Withdrawal Agreement by the UK Parliament last night, and without stronger assurances which would avoid a disorderly Brexit, the risk of leaving the European Union on 29 March without a deal remains. 

    As politicians scrabble around to work out what happens next, I want to outline why the RSPB, and many other environmental NGOs, believe that ‘no…

    • 16 Jan 2019
  • 2019: it’s time to wake up

    One of the benefits of kids growing up is that, if given the chance, they stay in bed.  So, between Christmas and New Year, while my 14 and 11 year old children slept soundly I had the mornings to myself which meant I read “The End of the End of the Earth” by acclaimed author and birder Jonathan Franzen.

    Through this collection of essays, Franzen offers a mix of hope and despair about the state of the planet…

    • 4 Jan 2019
  • Good news for a Friday: a reminder of some good things we've done together

    In case you missed it, because this will definitely be my last blog of 2018 and I have run out of energy/inspiration (!), here is the blog I posted last Friday showcasing RSPB conservation highlights in 2018.  And because the world just keeps on turning, I can now add the positive news about our long running battle to #SaveLodgeHill!



    It has been quite a year.

    The UK vote to leave the European Union…

    • 21 Dec 2018