• A day in court

    The RSPB does an amazing amount of work with partners across the four countries of the UK, the UK Overseas Territories and internationally for a wide variety of species, habitats and places. In this blog, I try to give a taste of the breadth and diversity of this work. However, over the years I have frequently returned to one particular bird.

    The hen harrier has taken up more blog posts than any other, and for good reason…

    • 5 Dec 2018
  • A message for Defra: how to achieve more for nature by working better together

    There is a common refrain that environmental NGOs should work better together.  I agree, we should – we have much more to do to ensure we punch above our collective weight. 

    What is often missing from any critiques is…

    …the acknowledgement of what we are already are doing together and therefore how we can build on what we have

    …the importance of broader collaboration beyond just environmental NGOs, to…

    • 3 Dec 2018
  • Go Wild with the RSPB and National Lottery this December #ThanksToYou

    Guest blog by Kim Gutteridge, the RSPB's Head of Grants

    Did you know that if you play the National Lottery then you’re helping to save nature every time you buy a ticket?

    National Lottery players raise, on average, £30 million each week for projects all over the country. Nature benefits as part of the 20% of good causes funding that goes to heritage.  What has heritage got do with nature? Well, the UK is…

    • 28 Nov 2018
  • A call for action

    Two and a half years on from the UK vote to leave the European Union, huge differences of opinion still exist about the nature of our future relationship with the EU.  

    While the UK was and remains divided by the referendum, I felt then and still believe that we are united by our love of wildlife – millions of people watch programmes like Blue Planet, Dynasties or the Spring/Auntumn/Winter-watch series, visit nature reserves…

    • 22 Nov 2018
  • Lessons from South Africa: using tax incentives for protected areas and getting a well deserved award

    I was delighted to hear that Candice Stevens (from BirdLife South Africa) and the South African Government have received (as shown in the image below) a Special Commendation in the UNDP‘s inaugural global Pathfinder Award for their unique Fiscal Benefits Project. The award ceremony was held yesterday during  the Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of the Parties (CBD COP 14) in Egypt.

    South Africa is recognised…

    • 19 Nov 2018
  • A comment on the Withdrawal Agreement: how to move from “non-regression” to progression

    On pages 356-360 of the much anticipated and hotly debated Withdrawal Agreement is a section called “Non-regression in the level of environmental protection”.  It is notable for two reasons…

    …it provides meticulous detail on how the four countries of the UK must maintain the environmental principles, access to justice, laws, monitoring, compliance and enforcement arrangements that are currently provided…

    • 16 Nov 2018
  • Good news for a Friday: two RSPB staff members receive prestigious awards

    In October, we received the delightful news that two of our staff had been given prestigious awards.  I thought I should put a spotlight on their success to celebrate their achievements and to say how lucky I am to call them my colleagues.

    Both were winners of a Marsh Award promoted by two different partners.

    Dr Juliet Vickery, our Head of International Research, received the Marsh Award for Ornithology from the BTO at…

    • 2 Nov 2018
  • Thinking big for curlew and all of nature

    I’ve written before about how we sometimes have to make difficult decisions when trying to meet our conservation objectives. I’ve also said that undertaking any kind of predator control is always a last resort and always part of a much wider package of action including influencing the policy and legal framework of land management.

    In the case of the curlew, there is a lot of work to be done. There has been…

    • 31 Oct 2018
  • New research about the scale of mouse predation on seabirds gives greater urgency to the Gough Island Restoration Programme

    For anyone following the tragic story of Gough Island, you’ll know that the island’s unique seabirds are in a dramatic decline and that predation from invasive non-native mice is the primary cause. But until now we haven’t known the true extent of the damage mice are causing.  Below, my colleague Laura Beasley reports on new research highlighting the scale of mouse predation on seabirds.

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    • 22 Oct 2018
  • A reflection on the RSPB AGM

    The RSPB AGM was an uplifting end to a tough week.

    Tragically, two brilliant colleagues – John Lanchbery and Roy Taylor - passed away this week. In very different ways, they personified the best of the RSPB.

    John dedicated his career to securing global action to tackle climate change particularly through reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the loss of tropical forests which was a core part of the landmark Paris…

    • 21 Oct 2018
  • Europe and the UN Sustainable Development Goals: a case for renewal?

    I had one of my increasingly infrequent visits to Brussels today to participate in a very diverse group that is trying to help the European Union (of which the UK remains a member for at least another six months) get to grips with the seventeen UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were agreed in 2015.

    During the meeting, we were shown research that suggested that not a single country has achieved a high level…

    • 12 Oct 2018
  • Helping farmers in Northern Ireland to help nature

    Northern Ireland has featured heavily in the Brexit negotiations and has proved to be one of the main sticking points for both the EU and the UK in defining our future relationship. As a charity that operates in all four corners of the UK, we believe that Brexit has to work for nature across all of its constituent parts. That is why I was delighted to sign up to the NI E-action which is aimed at ensuring DAERA put the…

    • 9 Oct 2018
  • Stay cool: keep the temperature down for nature

    Today, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its conclusions on what is needed to avoid the worst impacts climate change.  The report reflects the latest climate science from experts around the world.  It was commissioned by the 2015 Paris Agreement which concluded that all countries should work together to “hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above…

    • 8 Oct 2018
  • Good news for a Friday: things can only get bigger, better and more connected

    For a number of years, Professor Sir John Lawton has been on the road with a slideshow about how to provide more space for nature through landscape scale conservation.  As the champion for more, bigger, better and connected protected areas, he often showed this slide (below) comparing the size of conservation projects and the level of management required in the UK with others around the world.  In his own inimitable style…

    • 5 Oct 2018
  • In praise of BirdLife International

    If I ever get depressed about the state of the world’s wildlife, I remember that we are part of an extraordinary family of organisations dedicated to save wildlife around the world: BirdLife International – the global partnership for nature and people.

    The BirdLife International partnership gives both reassurance and confidence that, even when the pressures on the natural world are so great, together we can…

    • 1 Oct 2018
  • Birdcrime: a stain on the UK

    The UK Government is currently collating its report on how well it has done in meeting its obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity to protect and restore wildlife. This will contribute to a global assessment of nature which will emerge in the run up to the crucial meeting in China in 2020.

    We know from government’s own statistics as well as the charity-led State of Nature report that we have a…

    • 25 Sep 2018
  • The People's Walk for Wildlife: solidarity and sociability amongst conservationists

    Yes, it rained.Yes, there were a lot of brollies. But, on Saturday, 10,000 people kept smiling and cheering as they walked through London listening to bird song playing from their mobile phones.

    We'd started the day in Hyde Park making banners, having faces painted and catching up with friends before listening to some rousing speeches from those that contributed to the wonderfully provocative manifesto of ideas to…

    • 24 Sep 2018
  • Good news for a Friday: milestones in the recovery of the bittern population in the UK and white-rumped vultures in Nepal

    Here are a couple of stories from this week to give you a spring in your step before Chris Packham's Walk for Wildlife on Saturday.

    First, we reported on Wednesday that the UK bittern population has reached an all time high with 188 males recorded at 82 sites this year. This compares to 164 at 71 sites in 2017 and, of course, the low of 11 males in 1997.

    Second, the SAVE partnership (which includes the RSPB) celebrated…

    • 21 Sep 2018
  • Why Saturday's Walk for Wildlife matters (part 2)

    Last night I sat down and read the draft manifesto that Chris Packham has published to coincide with Saturday's Walk for Wildlife.

    It is a remarkable and provocative read.

    Chris has pulled together a team of independent thinkers to outline their proposals for transforming UK's nature and the way our society interacts with the natural world.

    The authors have included 200 ideas designed to prod, poke and shove…

    • 19 Sep 2018
  • Why Saturday's Walk for Wildlife matters

    When we conceived the first State of Nature report in 2013, we wanted to create a common evidence base about about what was happening to our wildlife in the UK and on the 14 UK Overseas Territories.  Our hope was that this would unite the sector to provide a shared message to politicians and other decision-makers to stimulate action.

    With the 2013 and 2016 reports, compiled mainly thanks to the dedication of thousands…

    • 17 Sep 2018
  • Good news for a Friday: I have good taste

    Earlier this week, our tropical forest team invited colleagues to do a blind chocolate tasting session including samples made from cocoa grown by Sierra Leone farmers in Gola Forest.

    I was in London that day but pulled rank and asked for some samples to be set aside so I could take part in the tasting later in the week.

    I am glad that I did. Because having assessed each of the four milk and dark chocolate samples…

    • 14 Sep 2018
  • Agriculture Bill - over the first hurdle?

    Yesterday, I wrote about the importance of the upcoming Agriculture Bill for the environment, and wondered whether Defra would clear this early hurdle in its quest for a ‘Green Brexit’.

    I am glad to say that, having read Defra’s press notice issued today, the early signs are good.

    Andy Hay's image of a skylark (rspb-images.com)

    Once we have had a chance to digest the content of the Bill, I will…

    • 12 Sep 2018
  • A crucial moment for the future of farming

    This week, we expect Defra to table its new Agriculture Bill. This Bill will set out what the future for agriculture in England will look like once the UK has left the European Union, and with it the infamous Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

    For wildlife and the environment, it is a crucial moment. We know that agriculture is the biggest driver of biodiversity decline, but we also know that this has been driven by counter…

    • 11 Sep 2018
  • Good news for a Friday: a round-up of some of the best stories from August

    If, like me, you have been on holiday during part of August, you may have struggled to keep up with the news.  To help you get back up to speed, I have listed below my pick of the best stories from the past few weeks.  It's amazing what has happened in just a short space of time.  These serve as a reminder that despite the huge pressures on the natural world, by working with partners, the RSPB continues to have a huge…

    • 31 Aug 2018
  • Guest Blog from Chris Packham: The People's Walk for Wildlife - 22nd September 2018

    Today, I am delighted to host a blog from our Vice-President, Chris Packham.  Below, Chris explains why he wants all of us to support The People's Walk for Wildlife on 22 September.  I'll be there - will you?

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    56%. It says 56%.

    Since 1970

    I think back to 1970, I think about what I was doing in 1970, what happened in 1970. I remember Apollo 13, I remember Bobby Moore’s bracelet and Gordon…

    • 30 Aug 2018