BBC Wildlife Magazine

BBC Wildlife Magazine

November 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.

United Kingdom
Immediate Media Company London Limited
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13 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
shelter from the storm

It had been a perfectly pleasant stroll along the side of the canal when the snow hit me. Looking up, white flakes floated down, and yet just a few yards up the pavement, it was a bright, clear morning. I knew this spot well, as I stopped to watch the peregrines on the top of the old warehouse most mornings on my daily commute, so it didn’t take me long to twig that my snowstorm was actually a shower of feathers, as a falcon plucked away at its breakfast high above. These inner-city wildlife encounters are worth their weight in gold – especially as, this year more than ever before, we’ve been so focused on the wildlife on our doorsteps. So, this issue, we decided to take a whirlwind tour of…

1 min.
in focus

Cone sweet cone Plastic pollution is a real problem for marine species – reports of carrier bags being removed from the stomachs of beached whales, not to mention mircroplastics being ingested by all sorts of sea life, are far too familiar. However, this common lobster appears to have discovered a way to use our castoffs to its advantage. Concealing itself inside a discarded traffic cone, the cunning crustacean has found the perfect hideout, enabling it to survey the seabed in safety. White-out Apart from the glint of a golden eye, this snowy owl blends in beautifully with its wintery surroundings, as it takes to the air across the Canadian tundra. Far from being a night owl, these birds are diurnal and rely on their camouflage to avoid detection while hunting – lemmings are…

3 min.
mike dilger’s wildlife watching

Forming either extensive swamps in lowland floodplains, or feathery fringes along the margins of rivers, ditches, lakes and reservoirs, reedbeds are highly unusual in that the habitat is almost entirely composed of one species – common reed. Looking verdant all summer, the plant’s green coloration will by now have given way to the distinctive golden-yellow hues of late autumn and winter. Reedbeds bridge that gap between land and water. The reeds themselves sprout from specialised structures called rhizomes, which run horizontally just below the ground. The visible components of this dominant and domineering grass are the densely spaced upright shoots, eventually sprouting to over 2m in height when fully grown. Able to survive, and indeed thrive, in both submerged environments and locations that flood frequently, this super species can also cope…

13 min.
covid and conservation

$168 illi Amount tourism was worth in Africa during 2019. THE VIEW FROM AFRICA From her camp in Kenya’s Westgate Conservancy, Shivani Bhalla, founder of Ewaso Lions, is describing the biblical rains that have brought the floodplains of the Ewaso Nyiro River to abundant life. “It’s pretty much rained all year,” she tells me. “I said to our team of Samburu warriors, ‘This must be enough now!’ And they replied, ‘No, you can never have enough rain. It’s what keeps us going.’” At the start of 2020, wildlife was flourishing in wet northern Kenya. Just three months later, the sinister COVID-19 pandemic forced the world to shut down. Human movement was restricted, borders and supply chains closed and quarantines enforced. When international flights were grounded, tourism across the African continent collapsed. “We had…

4 min.
giving it your best shot

Why is this competition important? For photographers of wildlife and environmental subjects, it is the most renowned competition in the world, with a long history of rewarding the very best individual pictures and stories. Having pictures placed in the top 100 can help make careers and reputations, and for professionals, the reward goes beyond financial, bringing huge international exposure. That value is immense for photographers motivated by the desire to see coverage of the stories their images carry. Owned by the Natural History Museum – an institution with a mission to create advocates for the planet – the competition is itself an institution. Both a photographic art exhibit and a story-telling platform, with a tale attached to every image, its reach is both huge and continuous through the year. As well as…

1 min.
fly me to the moon: migration myths

Nowadays, we take it for granted that swallows migrate to and from the northern and southern hemispheres in spring and autumn. But in the past, people came up with all sorts of bizarre, ingenious and misguided theories about where the birds spent the winter. The Greeks were the first to propose that swallows hibernated in the mud at the bottom of lakes and ponds. This was presumably because, in late summer and autumn, swallows can often be seen swooping down to drink from the surface; they also gather in reeds, willows and other waterside vegetation to roost. Even the great 18th-century Swedish taxonomist Linnaeus subscribed to this erroneous theory, as did his English contemporary Gilbert White – though he had his doubts. Perhaps the most outlandish theory came from 17th-century scientist Charles…