• Take a leap for the cuckoo and for all nature

    I don't like February.  It is a month synonymous with cold, grey days, man-flu and the end of Arsenal's title ambitions.  To make matters worse, this year, February is one day longer.  

    To cheer myself up, I have been reading Nick Davies' wonderful book about the harbinger of spring, the cuckoo (see here).  Drawing on thirty years of research he describes the cuckoo's curious breeding habits and meticulously…

    • 29 Feb 2016
  • Back from the Brink: Saving England’s Most Threatened Species

    On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of sitting in the room with colleagues from a variety of conservation organisations to discuss progress with developing a game-changing project to bring species back from the brink of extinction in England.

    It’s always nice to have the opportunity to think big, especially amongst friends.  It’s even more motivating to have plans to turn big ideas into practical projects.

    • 26 Feb 2016
  • How to compete for nature

    The EU referendum has dominated the headlines over the past week and this looks set to continue right up to 23 June.  This triggers two thoughts.  First, journalists will need different angles to keep folk interested and so the environmental consequences of remaining of leaving the EU should (eventually) get decent coverage.  Second, I have a feeling that many will tire of the EU debate pretty quickly. 

    So I promise to help…

    • 25 Feb 2016
  • EU Referendum: don't be silly #1

    Yesterday, I argued (here) that the EU Referendum debate needed to be sensible and based on evidence.  I also said that we would do our bit to separate fact from fiction.

    Alas, as emotions run high on this subject, I don't expect everyone to heed this advice.  So, I plan to highlight any silly statements relating to EU and the environment.

    The first silly statement I've spotted was made by Michael Gove at the weekend…

    • 23 Feb 2016
  • Separating fact from fiction in the run up to the referendum on the UK membership of the European Union

    The debate must be fair, the attention to detail precise. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to consider a matter that has divided the nation for decades – and perhaps achieve some resolution. That debate will be passionate, but we hope it will also be rational and forensic.”

    This was the comment at the end of the editorial in today’s Sunday Telegraph (here), after the starting gun for…

    • 22 Feb 2016
  • Uniting to end illegal poisoning of wild birds in Europe

    Ahead of this year’s breeding season, I’ve put a spotlight on bird crime outlining the need for new actions and better cooperation to help protect some of our most iconic species.

    I have shared our hopes for hen harrier recovery following publication of the Hen Harrier Action Plan, the RSPB's Head of RSPB Investigations, Bob Elliot highlighted the urgent need for commitment to long-term funding of the…

    • 19 Feb 2016
  • The Hen Harrier Action Plan - guest blog from Charlie Moores from Birders Against Wildlife Crime

    Yesterday, I shared a perspective on bird crime from someone who shoots (Rob Yorke).  Today, I am delighted to welcome Charlie Moores, chair of BAWC (Birders Against Wildlife Crime) to offer his perspective on the Hen Harrier Action Plan.


    Martin Harper's blog of 14th January was on the recently-published Hen Harrier Action Plan, a six point 'plan' that, according to Defra, aims "to…

    • 18 Feb 2016
  • Bird crime - a shooter's view: guest blog by Rob Yorke

    In November, I wrote that "many members of the shooting community want an end to illegal persecution and make a significant contribution to conservation".  Following an exchange of comments, a challenge was issued to encourage someone from the shooting community to offer their perspective.  I did receive one offer. Here Rob Yorke, who is a member of the RSPB, BTO, BASC, GWCT, is a birdwatcher and self-professed…

    • 17 Feb 2016
  • Further thoughts on the Hen Harrier Action Plan for England

    Two weeks ago, I published a blog on the launch of Defra’s Hen Harrier Action Plan (here). While the plan is limited in its commitments, I welcomed its publication as a step in the right direction.

    Since then, I have received quite a few comments and questions via twitter, this blog and email. I have not been surprised – this is an issue where the stakes are high.

    Image courtesy of Guy Shorrock

    I thought…

    • 16 Feb 2016
  • This Valentine's Day, show the love... for seabirds and for success on the Scilly's

    This week, in the run up to Valentine's Day, people have been wearing their green hearts on their sleeve, their wrists, their schools, their football clubs, anywhere to show the love for the things that will be affected by climate change.  

    This is the second year that The Climate Change Coalition (of which the RSPB is a founder member) has inspired people to believe that we can protect the life we love from climate…

    • 13 Feb 2016
  • Why government should welcome loud voices for nature

    A few years ago, the RSPB produced a report outlining ten principles of sustainable development (here).  It might not have been the most exciting report we've ever produced but it provided a decent check-list to judge decision-making by governments across the UK.

    One of principles was that public participation was key to good decision-making. We argued that it was in government's interest to engage civil society,…

    • 8 Feb 2016
  • Show the love this Valentine's Day

    In the run  up to Valentine's Day, the RSPB has once again joined forces with WWF, Oxfam, the National Trust, the Women’s Institute and many other partners from The Climate Coalition to encourage people to think differently about climate change and to inspire them to act.  We are asking people to‪ Show the Love by watching and sharing a new 5 minute film featuring a letter written by Michael Morpurgo and starring…

    • 5 Feb 2016
  • European Parliament opposes revision of Nature Directives

    This morning, MEPs in the European Parliament adopted (with an overwhelming majority) a report that reinforces the importance of the EU Nature Directives in halting biodiversity loss.

    Today’s news follows a series of announcements which suggest that any political appetite to weaken the directives has reduced but alas not entirely disappeared. 

    © European Union 2015 - European Parliament

    In October last…

    • 3 Feb 2016
  • A thought for World Wetlands Day

    Walking through Westminster last week, I saw a large display of wellington boots.  It had been put together by Greenpeace showcasing personal testimonies from flood-hit communities and was accompanied by a call for more government action to protect people from flooding.

    Admiring the installation, my eyes were drawn to a card about Hebden Bridge - a community that has suffered from flooding in recent years and is in the…

    • 2 Feb 2016