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BBC Wildlife Magazine

BBC Wildlife Magazine October 2020

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.
snap happy...

Often over our evening meal, when we all talk about our days, I tell my family about some of the incredible wildlife photographs that I’ve had the pleasure of looking through that day, sharing sneaky peeks of the cream of the crop. And now it’s your turn to feast your eyes on the fruits of our photographers’ labours. We’ve got stunning shots from across the world – hyenas in Ethiopia (p48), pumas in the Andes (p60), mullet migrating in the Atlantic (p70), weird and wonderful fungi (p32) – not to mention great British species from badgers to bank voles and beyond (p12). I’m constantly in awe at the standard of pictures our photographers send us, and talking to a few of them recently about the ethics of wildlife photography made me think…

1 min.
the people behind our stories

MERLIN SHELDRAKE Here to shed some light on a mysterious kingdom of life, the biologist reveals just how important fungi are. “The more we learn about fungi, the less makes sense without them,” he says. See p32 KATIE STACEY Spending time in Harar, Ethiopia, saw the writer encounter the city’s spotted hyenas: “Much like the history of the city, the origins of Harar’s relationship with hyenas is shrouded in legend.” See p48 LUCAS BUSTAMANTE The photojournalist turns his lens towards a family of pumas in Torres del Paine National Park, where the species is making a comeback. “Long live this incredible cat, in the dramatic wildscapes of Patagonia,” he says. See p60 MOBY Living in LA, the musician has developed a respect for coyotes: “I love being reminded of the fact that so much of nature is…

1 min.
in focus

Magic in the air Hummingbirds are masters of flight. They’re lightning fast, have the ability to hover in mid-air and are the only birds capable of flying backwards. This impressive set of skills is brought to the fore as the iridescent bundles of energy feast on the nectar that fuels them. Found darting between the tropical blooms of the Americas, hummingbirds are important pollinators. Each species – here, the long-tailed sylph – has developed a bill that is the perfect size and shape for getting the most out of the local flora. In terms of evolution, they’re a flying success. Little and large While photographer Michaela Walsh was busy admiring brown bears in Slovenia, the subject of her attention seemed just as taken with a great tit that was flying around overhead. “For…

4 min.
wild month

1 | TAWNY OWL Dusk drama Anyone wanting to hear a tawny owl – or perhaps glimpse its shadowy form silhouetted against the last scrap of daylight – should go for a stroll on a pleasant autumn evening. October and November is when these ethereal birds really make their presence felt. They’re our most abundant owls, found even in suburbia and city parks, though absent from the island of Ireland. Youngsters that fledged in spring are now searching for territories of their own, seriously ruffling the feathers of the neighbourhood’s resident owls. The result: a sudden surge in wavering hoots, shrieking ‘kee-wicks’ and an array of other screeches. Tawny owls are tricky to survey, but some clever citizen science by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) has shone new light on their territorial…

3 min.
hidden britain

As long nights and cooler temperatures envelop us, summer and all of its defining sights and sounds seem far behind. This feeling gets me asking questions and playing mind games. Where, for example, are all the butterflies? Of our 57 resident butterfly species, just five hibernate as adults. The remaining 52 species sit out the inclement season in one of the insects’ three other life stages. Overwintering as pupae or eggs makes sense, since they’re already in a state of suspended animation. But a surprising majority – 31 species – do so as caterpillars. Given the soft, squishy vulnerability of these beasts, this might seem puzzling. One species in particular, the marsh fritillary, Euphydryas aurinia, builds itself a life-support bubble. This rare butterfly, as its name suggests, often frequents damp meadows and…

3 min.
mike dilger’s wildlife watching

Diverse and divine in equal measure, deciduous woodland is a match for any other wild habitat in the British Isles, in terms of how much it has to interest keen naturalists throughout the year. Winter and summer woods offer their own particular charms, while in spring woods you can experience the glorious reawakening of the natural world. But autumn “carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons”, as the American writer Jim Bishop memorably put it. Given the global pandemic we’ve had to contend with this year, the restorative nature of woodlands makes them a wonderful place for anyone needing to refresh body, mind and spirit. And though Britain remains one of the least-forested countries in Europe, with deciduous woodland covering just six per cent of our land…