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BBC Wildlife Magazine

BBC Wildlife Magazine February 2019

BBC Wildlife Magazine is a celebration of the natural world, featuring all the latest discoveries, news and views on wildlife, conservation and environmental issues. With strong broadcasting links, authoritative journalism and award-winning photography, BBC Wildlife Magazine is essential reading for anyone with a passion for wildlife who wants to understand, experience and enjoy nature more.

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United Kingdom
Immediate Media Company London Limited
13 Issues

in this issue

1 min.

This year marks the 40th anniversary since the iconic natural history series Life on Earth came to our TV screens. Most memorable for David Attenborough’s close encounter with mountain gorillas, the programmes also featured many more of the most sublime and fascinating creatures in the animal kingdom. The world was revealed to be a rich and varied place, with animals such as the raggiana bird of paradise, seen in the picture above, delighting viewers with their strange courtship behaviour. In those days, we were largely free of the concerns about the natural world’s health and wellbeing that trouble us today – people just enjoyed seeing the quirky and interesting animals. Now, we need to be hugely concerned about our environment and species conservation, so the continuing popularity of nature programmes,…

1 min.
the people behind our stories

ISABELLE GROC Writer Isabelle watched grizzly bears in northern Yukon feasting on chum salmon. “As the temperature dips, water freezes on the bears’ fur,” she says. “In a unique transformation, they become ice grizzlies.” See p18 MARK WARD Nature writer Mark is a self-confessed listing addict. “There’s nothing like the thrill of seeing, or identifying, a species for the first time,” he says. “And adding it to your life list!” See p28 SUE FORBES Photographer and naturalist Sue spent days on deck watching red-footed boobies fishing. “Seeing the speed and accuracy as a booby plunges towards the ocean was stunning.” See p38 JAMES LOWEN Author and naturalist James is mesmerised by winter starling murmurations. “It was amazing to watch the swooping mass against a fiery sky above the Vatican in Rome,” he says. See p62…

4 min.
wild month

1 | HOUSE SPARROW Out for the count Since 1970, a staggering 178 species of bird have been recorded during the BTO’s Garden Bird Feeding Survey. Helping our garden birds has turned into a national obsession, supported by a multi-million-pound industry that supplies us with a vast array of different seeds and feeding devices. Meanwhile, the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, has grown into a hugely popular citizen-science project. For around a decade, the humble house sparrow has clung onto this survey’s top spot, having previously been in second place behind the starling. Yet this cheery statistic masks a relentless decline in its fortunes. In 2018, the average number of sparrows recorded per garden was just over four – down from ten in 1979, when the survey began.…

3 min.
mike dilger’s wildlife watching

With the glaring exception of our native and noble Caledonian pine forests in the Scottish Highlands, all other British evergreen forests are usually considered as little more than an alien habitat. The planting of primarily non-native conifers in huge plantations is a relatively recent phenomenon, which only arose from the need to create a national reserve of timber when woodland cover reached an all-time low of five per cent by the end of World War I. Producing a yield up to six times faster than broadleaf trees, conifers will always be the forester’s timber of choice. But with such a limited cast of native conifers to select from, British plantations became quickly populated by fast-growing, introduced species such as Sitka spruce and lodgepole pine from North America, or Norway spruce and…

1 min.
species to look out for

Crested tit Confined to Scotland’s Caledonian pine forests and Scots pine plantations, there can be no mistaking this specialised coniferphile. No larger than a blue tit, the crested tit’s speckled forehead and upstanding crest make identification simple at close quarters. Goshawk Resembling a huge sparrowhawk, and almost the size of a buzzard, this stocky raptor’s short, rounded wings are the perfect design for pursuing prey through the trees. Although shy and elusive for much of the year, late February sees established pairs begin to ‘sky dance’ above their forest territories. Common crossbill Crossed bill tips will immediately identify this chunky-looking finch ( below ). Males tend to be brick-red and females are a grey-green hue. Common crossbills can be found in plantations across the UK, while the almost indistinguishable Scottish crossbill is confined to the…

1 min.
choice locations

1 Loch Garten is an RSPB Reserve in the heart of Scotland’s Caledonian pine forests. It is not just famous for ospreys, but also one of the premier locations to find crested tits and red squirrels. 2 Kielder is managed by the Forestry Commission and is one of the largest woods in England. It is home to about 50 per cent of England’s red squirrels and recently welcomed back pine martens after a long absence. 3 Thetford represents the largest man-made forest in lowland Britain. Straddling the Norfolk-Suffolk border, the heathland and plantations are home to a range of conifer-loving birds. 4 Cannock Chase is Britain’s smallest mainland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Located in Staffordshire, it comprises a mixture of deciduous woodland, heathland and large conifer plantations where wild deer still roam. 5…