October, 2011

Our work

Our work
You might be surprised to read that our work is far broader than nature reserves and Big Garden Birdwatch. Read more about what else we do.

Natures Home magazine uncovered

Behind the scenes at the RSPB magazine and much much more...
  • Cuckoo holiday snaps

    I hope you enjoyed our cuckoo feature in the latest Birds magazine. Thanks for your letters and e-mails, so far - and for sharing your own stories of cuckoos heard and cuckoos seen.

    Derek and Sarah Niemann came back from their trip to South Uist to study cuckoos with a great selection of photographs, including some of other wildlife that they saw on their amazing trip, plus a fair few shots that made me smile!

    I hope you enjoy this selection - more to come soon.

    Furry or what? Cuckoos love caterpillars and here is a great close up of a garden tiger moth caterpillar that the Niemanns snapped on South Uist.

    Any ideas? No, they're not rocks in the water - this is a pod of pilot whales that came close to stranding. Fortunately they escaped unharmed and were able to make it back out to the open sea and deeper water.

    A daytime encounter with a short-eared owl was a pleasant distraction from the cuckoos.

    Derek takes his chances in the sea off South Uist. I wouldn't fancy paddling there at the moment...

    Derek and Sarah described this fellow as being among the 'friendliest' wildlife they encountered!

  • Extra 'Born to Fly' photos - take one

    We’ve been receiving some good comments from Birds readers about Toby Hough’s Following the cranes feature in the latest issue. Thanks very much – we’re really pleased you enjoyed it!

    It was great working closely with Toby and the other guys in the Film Unit on this piece for Birds and finding out about the work of our multiple award-winning Film Unit. It may seem like a glamorous job, but like so many jobs that seem like a breeze on the surface, it is a tough life being a wildlife film maker. Toby’s diaries and the shots of the trip prove how much effort, patience and dedication is needed to film wild birds.

    I thought you might be interested in some extra shots of Toby’s travels that we weren’t able to print in the magazine so here are a few extras below. Let me know if you have any questions about what is going on by posting a comment below and I’ll nip across the office to ask Toby!

    Finally, please do get in touch using the details on page 71 of the magazine if you’d like a copy of Born to Fly. It is a brilliant film and at £9.99, it's is a real bargain – and the perfect Christmas present too.


    You may have read about Toby’s brush with mosquitoes, and his battle with a numb bum during six hours in a cramped hide to film cranes at the nest in Poland. Here he is making his way back from the nest along a woodland stream for a well deserved break.

    Can you spot the big, long-legged bird in this picture? Take a look on top of the barn and you’ll see the reason why the team erected this platform in rural Poland. It's not a crane; it’s a white stork on its nest.

    The next time you feel weighed down by your camera, remember this shot. It’s all the equipment Toby and the team took to Sweden to capture the footage that you can see on Born to Fly.

    Here’s Toby ‘going all crane’ to keep up with a sprightly youngster at the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust centre at Slimbridge where the young cranes were reared for the Great Crane Project. To help prevent ‘human imprinting’ on the young cranes, those who looked after the birds wore these flattering grey cloaks to look like adult cranes. Looking good T!

  • Check your doormat...

    Here at RSPB headquarters at The Lodge in Bedfordshire, we have just received our first copies of the latest magazine. You'll be getting your copies in the next few days - mailing started today. With so many readers (thank you!), it can take several days to get all the copies out, so don't worry if yours takes a few days to arrive.

    The new long-tailed tit cover (above) is getting a few "Oohs and "Aaahs" from our colleagues around the RSPB, so that's a good start I reckon. What do you think?

    I'll be honest - and this is the first place I've ever admitted this so it's a blog exclusive - it is a nervy time for me as Editor when I open the pages of those first copies, hot off the press. I hope that all the work everyone has put in over the last few months has paid off - it only becomes 'real' for me when we see all the spreads as an actual magazine that you can touch! I'm pleased to report that visually, we are really pleased with the Winter issue. There are some big glossy images from some fantastic photographers that l hope you will enjoy and the writers have produced some great stories to share with you.

    Please come back to go behind the scenes of the Winter issue

    Over the next few weeks, we'll be bringing you the 'behind the scenes' stories of the features in the Winter issue on this blog. If you want to know how we put together the artwork for our features, or how RSPB cameraman, Toby Hough, shares his wildlife-filming adventures with his children, then do keep coming back. We have lots of extra photos as well that we didn't have room for in the magazine and I'll be posting some on this blog.

    If there's anything you particularly enjoy about the Winter issue, please do post a comment below and let us know.

    Enjoy your Birds magazine.