Ali (Wings) - The English Digest - March 2009

Editorial March 2009


Looking after the finances of a charity like ours is a challenge; we must spend money on the essentials such as this newsletter but we aim to keep our overhead costs to a minimum as any money spent is diverted from the conservation and protection of birds.

You will have seen the many ways we offer to reduce our running costs; Bankers' Orders are now used by almost half of the members, nearly 200 choose to read the newsletter on line, both of these reduce postage costs which are due to rise again as this edition goes to print. Our thanks go to all those who have adopted these measures, perhaps those who have not might consider them?

However, we have another major cost and that is what we have to spend to recruit new members. It is not easy and sometimes, after all the effort and expense, we find that we have just succeeded in standing still. We have tried direct advertising in bird orientated magazines; we have mounted leaflet campaigns in many areas; we have had a presence at the Birdfair; we have a highly rated web site and we visit clubs and societies to give illustrated talks. It's a lot of hard work, it can cost a lot of money but the fact remains that our membership is still slowly declining.

Now, what if you were to join in? Talk to friends and make them aware of LIPU, mention our cause to your local bird club or group, that would be more people to spread the word - and the cost would be almost nothing. Please think of any ways you can help here, we have a stock of colour leaflets and can send them out if they would help. It is obvious that bird conservation in Italy will not appeal to everyone, but our membership is everything and we have to stop the decline, let's work together to turn the line on the graph into an upward one!

On a different note you will see that, once again, the laws of Italy and Europe are being challenged by the hunting lobby in the Italian Senate. LIPU is mounting determined opposition to these proposals and is being helped by other NGOs, this could be a long struggle, certainly the result will be of profound importance.

A positive note is sounded with the feature on Marine IBAs. LIPU was responsible for identifying and designating the 192 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) which cover about 15% of the land area but the level of protection accorded by the law is low. European law now dictates that IBAs are to be redesignated as Special Protection Areas (SPAs, or ZPS in Italian) and this upgrading is going ahead, albeit more slowly than it should.

Now the focus of attention changes to the sea around the Italian coast and, again, LIPU is leading the way with research into the areas of the Mediterranean which are important to birds. LIPU-UK is happy to be able to help and you will read of our forthcoming projects - the largest being a commitment to fund much of this important work.

Finally, this is the issue which carries our appeal. Unlike some organisations we appeal for funds only once a year and in the past you, the members, have responded magnificently. This year we have committed help for five important projects which will cost €62,500; the pound is weak against the Euro and hardship and uncertainty are with us all but please do what you can to make this work a success - Thank you.

* * *


Danilo Selvaggi - LIPU Office for Institutional Relations

A bill introduced by Senator Franco Orsi aims to liberalize hunting regulation completely.

There is a new and extremely serious threat to birds and nature. At the end of 2002 we opposed a law drafted under the name of Francesco Onnis MP who, with the support of a group of like-minded MPs, wanted to dismantle law 157/1992 (on the protection of wild fauna and the regulation of hunting) leaving hardly any regulation at all. The members of LIPU mobilised, signed petitions and made their presence known. As part of this campaign we coined two slogans “No to wild hunting”, and “We love animals and want them to be protected”. This second sentence, however short, encapsulated the culture of LIPU and our view of the world. Nature, animals and the natural habitat are an integral part of all our lives. They are our most precious and invaluable asset, and cannot be abused.

In the end the proposal was rejected. However, as the proverb says, history repeats itself, and now Senator Franco Orsi, a dedicated hunter, is following in the footsteps of Francesco Onnis. “I will take off my Senatorial robes”, he stated recently, “put on my hunting clothes and pledge myself to a revival of hunting”. In brief, this is a new and serious threat.

Legalised poaching

The changes to law 157 will make a poacher’s life easy. To take one example: the requirement to ring birds used as live decoys will be removed. There will be no proper hunting licence, a simple certificate will suffice. And what shall we do with the guns confiscated from poachers? Simple: give them back. And when a country has one of the highest rates of poaching in Europe, what measures should we take? Obviously: reduce field patrols monitoring illegal activities.

A flood of protest

The proposal of Senator Orsi has provoked widespread criticism, and more will come. Tens of thousands of Italians have already expressed their disagreement via e-mail. All of the environmental associations have registered their protest. The ISPRA (Institute for Wild Fauna) has objected to these measures, and has joined forces with 11 other civic groups (environmental, farming, and even hunting), to oppose and generate counter proposals.

LIPU will not let it happen

So what happens now? As we go to print, the bill has just been presented to the Senate. Although the route to final approval is a long one, there is a real risk that the bill will become law. Many hunting extremists see this as a last chance to restore their archaic vision of hunting. We will not let this happen. We will use all available democratic avenues: reasoned dissent, science, Europe, and above all the help of LIPU members and those who are on the side of nature.

Ipsos survey:

What do ordinary Italians think? A survey shows that the overwhelming majority of Italians are against the proposal.

Instead the State should take better care of nature and listen to the environmental community - and this is very important!

IPSOS poll for Legambiente, LIPU and WWF, “What Italians think about hunting”, Feb 2009.

What are the risks if this proposal becomes law?

An insult to culture

These proposed changes to law 157 add up to a long list of constitutionally illegitimate measures and breaches of European Community law. The proposal is an insult to environmental culture: the culture of those who love nature and ask that it is properly protected.

* * *


LIPU makes life hard for trappers

Andrea Mazza, LIPU Press Office

Hunt guards and volunteers all along the Peninsula undertook the complex work of monitoring and investigation that has resulted in the seizing of poachers with “their hands in the sacks”.

A tough year for the LIPU guards and many volunteers at the anti-trapping camps. Their journeys took them from Brescia to Cagliari passing through islands in the Gulf of Naples, crossing Calabria and the Straits of Messina but also to many other parts of Italy where hunting guards have been hired.

LIPU is winning the fight by the use of modern technology, against an ancient local tradition that is nurtured in Brescia and Sardinia and feeds a flourishing illegal traffic in species such as Robins, thrushes and Chaffinches.

In Cagliari, thanks to a well-hidden mini video camera in the middle of a tree, they filmed and reported five trappers, seized literally red-handed. The complex work was documented precisely for the transmission of “Le Iene Show” and “Stricia La Notizia”, two popular television programmes. With the help of Giovanni Malara, tireless co-ordinator of the LIPU camp, the whole poaching cycle from the setting of the traps, to the capture and killing of the birds was filmed.

Five poachers were reported, 22,000 traps and 160 snares for hunting wild boar were counted up at the end of the camp in Sardinia. In the Flegree islands of the Gulf of Naples, the LIPU volunteers from Ischia and Procida reported many trappers, impounded guns, traps, munitions and wild animals in 2008.

One month, from April 15 to May 15 was dedicated to the anti-trapping camps on the island of Procida in cooperation with the provincial police of Naples. Because of this trapping was down and 20 guards (those of Ischia and Procida side by side with those from Parma) and volunteers participated in the camp.

Checks at dawn and sunset were extended on the larger Ischia where a trapper who had access to a tape device for attracting Quail tried to escape. “The objectives that we planned have been amply achieved,” said Davide Zeccolella volunteer hunting guard for LIPU, “ we have guaranteed the silence of hunting and protected the migration of the birds”.

Editor’s Note:

The video recording equipment used in Sardinia was purchased from LIPU-UK project funds and this is just one way in which we help the anti-poaching work of Giovanni and his fellow volunteers.

* * *


BirdLife International’s major campaign to ensure safe passage for birds on migratory routes through Europe, Africa and the Middle East begins on 21st March.

Elena D’Andrea, LIPU Director General

Every year, migratory birds confront mountains, oceans, deserts and storms in their journey for survival. Unconstrained by our political boundaries, they are a link connecting nations all over the world.

During this incredible two-way journey from their breeding grounds to their winter destination, they cross various countries and habitats, forming a link between the different ecosystems and local cultures, but also facing various man-made pressures and threats: intensive agriculture in the European nesting grounds; hunting and trapping along their flights and stopping-off points along the Mediterranean; desertification in the Sahel belt; deforestation in Central and West Africa. As a result, there is a worrying decline in the numbers of many migratory species, such as swallows, nightingales and cuckoos, and even in ducks, waders and birds of prey.

To make their journeys safer, BirdLife International, the largest world association network for the protection of birds, of which LIPU is the Italian partner, is launching the “Born to travel” campaign in Europe, Africa and the Middle East: only a broad-based campaign, shared by many countries and aware of the problems and the solutions, will be able to bring about the hoped-for results.

The conservation of the flyway

Because of the dependence of migratory birds on a wide range of landscapes, we must be aware that there can only be one solution to the serious decline in biodiversity, and that is to face up to the many interrelated problems along the whole of their journey – their “flyway” – to ensure a sustainable future for migratory birds, and thus, a sustainable future for ourselves.

Because if, with their “flights without borders”, they pose environmental problems that are not easily solved and are even of an intercontinental scale, it is also true that these migratory birds are the perfect means to carry the key message of our century: environmental and human health are issues of global concern which cannot be resolved without cooperation between nations. The paradigm of this escalation of environmental problems is the question of climate change, which has finally come under the media spotlight.

Action in Italy

The “Born to travel” campaign, which will go on for four years, will involve many countries and the various associated organisations of BirdLife International along the migratory routes: 42 in Europe, 22 in Africa and 10 in the Middle East.

In Italy, LIPU will be actively involved throughout the campaign. Starting straight away: the Spring Alive project began in February, enabling everyone to follow the arrival of migratory birds and to participate actively ( The mass-media launch of the campaign in Europe, Africa and the Middle East is planned for March 21st; Sunday March 22nd will bring the chance to see the migration ‘live’ in the LIPU Oases and Reserves. April 2nd is the 30th anniversary of the European Directive on Birds, without which the protection of migratory birds would not be possible.

Later on, the anti-trapping camp on the Straits of Messina (May 1st-17th), the Global Migration Day (April 20th) and the summer camps (for adults and children) for birdwatching and protection of migratory species (May to October).

Threatened, declining in numbers, in danger of extinction.

Almost half of the 119 species of long-distance migratory birds have suffered a decline in numbers in the last 30 years. Ten percent of Afro-Euroasiatic migratory species are heading towards extinction. On a global level, the species at risk are the Aquatic Warbler, the Red-breasted Goose, and Lilac-breasted Roller.

For birds of prey, the situation is more serious – at least half of these species are under threat: in particular the Lesser Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, and Spotted Eagle. Moreover, many of the more common migratory species – the Turtle Dove, the Cuckoo, the Swallow, the Wryneck, Wheatear, and flycatchers – are declining in numbers, as are an alarming 42% of migratory aquatic birds, including the Black-tailed Godwit and Ferruginous Duck.

Among the main dangers for these birds, we must not forget the destruction of their habitats in the wintering, stopover and breeding grounds, due to the expansion and intensification of agriculture, deforestation and urbanisation. Likewise, climatic changes (for example, the progressive desertification of the sub-Saharan regions), the decrease in available food supplies (caused by the use of agricultural pesticides), hazardous installations close to critical areas (such as power-lines and wind-farms) and pollution due to industrial and human waste products. Other important threats come from hunting, both directly and the associated disruption, not to mention the activities of trapping and persecution, and the general disruption affecting some species in tourist areas.

What is a flyway?

The term “flyway” indicates the route taken by birds during their migration. A flyway links the birds’ breeding and wintering grounds, and every flyway includes particular locations or habitats and landscapes which are of crucial importance to migratory birds, such as important areas for flocking together, resting and feeding. These locations and the corridors that connect them are what make it possible for migratory birds to complete their journey.


A glance at the figures is enough to realise the importance of the aims achieved in the protected areas directly managed by the Association. And the target for 2009? To become even better.

By Ugo Faralli, LIPU Reserves & Centres

As often happens, it’s numbers and actual facts which best define the activities and the projects which the Association supports each year in our Oases and natural reserves.

Let’s start with our greatest commitment to protection: the Bianello Oasis, the area of which has been increased from 123 ha. to 186 hectares, just as the Cave and Gaggio Oasis has increased from 13 to 39 hectares with woods and ponds closed to the delight of Woodcock, Wood Pigeon, Teal and Water Rail!

Elsewhere, Lake Santa Luce Nature Reserve is on its way to recognition as a site within Nature Network 2000 just as the one at Biviere di Gela has achieved a central role in the management plan for the ZPS of Piana di Gela itself. Further examples of LIPU’s commitment to the extension of Nature Network 2000.

The breeding pairs of Eleonora’s Falcon are stable (at around 110) in the Carloforte Oasis, off the coast of Sardinia, as are the Ferruginous Ducks in the Brabbia Marsh and at Lake Montepulciano. In these two Nature Reserves, as well as the Ostiglia Marsh, the reedbed species such as the Purple Heron and the Marsh Harrier are also stable.

Showing a slight increase at the Ca’ Roman Oasis and at the Priolo Saltpans Nature Reserve are both Kentish Plover and Little Tern as are the Black Kites at Castel di Guido and the Green Woodpeckers at Casacalenda Oasis; all results achieved through the welcome intervention of environmental management. It is the same story for the herons at the Torrile Oasis which is on the way to becoming a Regional Nature Reserve.

More wildlife but also more people in LIPU’s Oases and Reserves, with a record number of visitors coming to the Chiarone Nature Reserve: more than 30,000 people have been through the reception centre and along the wooden walkways at LIPU’s Massaciuccoli Oasis.

More children introduced to wildlife and more hours dedicated to environmental education: LIPU’s officers and employees have organised guided visits; projects with teachers; summer camps; events; competitions, games and birthdays in its Oases: in particular at Cesano Maderno, Bosco Negri, Brabbia Marsh, Crava Morozzo, Castel di Guido, Gravina di Laterza.

Encouraging people to get to know nature means also developing more suitable structures: an observation tower in the Lake Montepulciano Nature Reserve, enlarging the visitor centres and taking action to reorganise the paths at Gravina di Laterza, at Santa Luce and at Celestina. On their way are new visitor centres at Campocatino and Arcola. This year sees us on our way, with the objective of maintaining and, if possible, improving on what we have achieved so far. As always our thanks must go to the support of the whole of LIPU’s membership.


There are two main stories from Italy in this issue; you have read already of the bitter battle to stop the proposed change to the hunting laws and this will go on for some time.

The other is the new task of identifying Important Bird Areas in the waters surrounding Italy and, as was the case with the IBAs on land, LIPU will have responsibility for this important work. Much has been written for the Italian members about Marine IBAs but shortage of space in this issue means that it will be “serialised” over this and future editions.

The project is so important that recently Claudio Celada spoke to me and asked if we would consider changing the planned project support for the next year to increase the funding for this work. It was clear that this was the best thing we could do and, as a result, the list of projects has changed slightly from that shown in the last edition of the Ali.

Here, then is some of the background to the fascinating and vital work that has to be done to safeguard the future of the seabirds around Italy and after that, we’ll have the news from LIPU-UK.

* * *


From the land to the sea

A project for the nomination of areas important for the protection of birds living in Italian waters - a journey that speaks of freedom

It is dawn. Light begins to reveal once more the black lava of the island of Linosa. The adult Cory’s Shearwaters leave their colony behind and take again to the sea in search of food, while the chicks, rotund in appearance, and covered in a dense dark chestnut down, stay inside their burrows to await their parents’ return. How can the journeys of these wonderful creatures be traced? Where do they travel once they have left the colony? Thanks to miniature tracking devices attached to their backs, LIPU researchers have been able to follow these marvellous birds as they voyage beyond their colony, on the open sea.

This is the account of the extraordinary travels of these adventurers of the Mediterranean. As the sun rises the adult shearwaters leave the tunnels where they nest and head seawards again. Clumsy as they walk across the spiky rocks, the birds become agile and elegant once airborne. Somewhat like a small version of an albatross in appearance, they spread out their long wings and give themselves up to the air, alternating flight powered by wing beats with long glides over the surface of the water. Even in severe gales they are able to complete long journeys, the boundaries of nations and land-masses meaning nothing to them. To observe them as they skim the waters, covering great distances seemingly without effort, evokes a sense of a freedom at which humans can only guess.

With the adults at sea and the infants out of sight among the rocks, the colony is now silent: once out there, the shearwaters head for the feeding grounds where are found the greatest concentrations of the fish on which they depend. Alone or with other shearwaters, they range far and wide in their quest for food. The feeding grounds can be some way off, whether out at sea or closer inshore. Some go as far as the Tunisian and Libyan coasts, where they fish for some time before returning to the colony.

They take fish by swift glides across the water, dipping in their beaks, or by near-vertical dives with their wings folded back. Sometimes they abandon flight and rest on the water, letting themselves be carried along by the currents. To take off again they must run over the water at first, as their long wings will not allow a quick lift-off, and for a moment they go back to being awkward and clumsy.

While the adults fish out at sea, back at the colony in the burning heat, the sharp black volcanic rocks and the total silence make it hard to believe that hidden in their crevices are the sleeping chicks. As daylight fades, the adults return after a whole day’s journey, more in some cases, but before returning to land they linger for a while near the shore in their hundreds, flocking together on the water. This is known as rafting, a sight at which one can but wonder in the evocative atmosphere of sunset.

When they return to the colony, the LIPU researchers remove the devices from their backs, so that the data can be recovered and their wanderings reconstructed. As soon as they are set free they head straight for their nests to feed their young. The adults may also fly above the colony, calling loudly and performing aerobatics. Throughout the night, one sees shearwaters arriving in the darkness and landing heavily on the jagged rocks. How they do not hurt themselves is a mystery.

In the middle of hundreds of nests, stowed in crevices apparently indistinguishable one from the other, each parent makes straight for its own. Here they regurgitate the food to nourish their offspring; the efforts of the day repaid with the satisfaction of having fed the infants. At night the colony is in tumult as thousands of shearwaters call at the same time. The pitch of the males is higher, that of the females deeper, a conversation that to the human ear seems at once exciting and unsettling.

A project for the protection of pelagic birds

The project is to put together a preliminary list of sites of potential importance for seabirds, a task given to LIPU by the Ministry for the Environment.
The objective is the designation of marine IBAs as a part of the Natura 2000 network.

To institute a coordinated system of areas dedicated to the conservation of biodiversity within the territory of the EU. This is the objective of Natura 2000, which came to being in the face of a dramatic situation: more than 40,000 species of animals and plants, from Lisbon to Helsinki, are in difficulties, and around 16,000 are at risk of extinction. That which the EU has set out, with the two directives for Habitats and Birds, which gave birth to the network project, is a veritable cultural revolution: to consider biodiversity as a good thing in itself, to assign the right of protection in whatever measure to the animal and plant species which inhabit the Union, and in particular to those in trouble or threatened with extinction.

The Network was conceived as a true and effective “practical instrument for conservation”, involving the attainment of coherent planning objectives allocated to all the member States. And if it is an obvious enough conclusion that birds, as with all creatures other than man, do not recognise administrative boundaries – one has only to think of the migrants which relocate from breeding to wintering areas, flying across countries and whole continents alike – the Natura 2000 Network takes this fact as read, understanding that there is at community level, a continuity of physical geography and functional ecology which transcends national boundaries.

The timetables are stringent, given the data on species in decline or on the verge of extinction. The EU, following the evidence of the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) has set a deadline of 2010 for all the member States to meet fixed objectives in the matter of the safeguarding of biodiversity, the first stage of which is to arrest its decline.

From Natura 2000 to IBAs

The Birds and Habitat directives, taken together, constitute the legislative foundations of the Natura 2000 network, the first setting out the necessity of instituting Special Protection Areas (SPAs) for birds, and the second providing for the appropriate Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) for other animal and plant species. The member States are obliged to identify and institute these sites on the basis of research, and to put into place immediate and concrete actions for their protection.

The Italian agency for the designation of Natura 2000 sites is, as one would expect, the Ministry for the Environment and the Protection of Land and Sea, which has worked with the information received from the Regions towards the completion at a national level of this system of areas, by means of a project named Bioitaly. But what was to be the basis of the SPAs? A reply came once more from Europe. It was the EU Court of Justice in 1998 which stated that: the list of greatest conservation interest for wild birds, generally known as IBAs, is the scientific foundation for the identification and designation of Special Protection Areas...

Within the remit of Natura 2000, the IBAs, that is to say those areas most important for birds, will therefore come to assume a key role as a real safeguard for biodiversity, and it will be these in fact which probably will become SPAs. The IBA project, watched over by the umbrella organisation for the protection of birds, BirdLife International, of which LIPU is the Italian partner, has already been shown to be an important technical instrument for the planning of action for conservation, in particular for the designation of SPAs. In Italy, there are 172 designated IBAs, covering an area of 5 million hectares, about 16% of the country. Their designation has served many times as a basis for being identified as a Special Protection Area. Currently 71% of the land area of the IBAs has SPA status.

IBAs on land and sea

The IBAs we have on land in Italy host the greater number and diversity of species, thanks to the extraordinary range of climates and ecosystems our country enjoys. But if birds are not confined by the boundaries of the land, we find, by the same token, that for many years not being able to see past the limits of ones territorial waters has been a potent obstacle which has prevented birds which live and breed at sea from getting their due attention.

The marine environment indeed is of great importance to avian life. BirdLife International has recognised 334 marine bird species, of which many are considered “specialists”, that is to say dependent to a high degree on the quality and integrity of their ecosystems. Many of these species exhibit a less than ideal conservation status, while some are at immediate risk of extinction. At all events, there are many and varied factors which threaten the survival of the birds of European waters.

The birds of the Mediterranean basin in particular are suffering, through the heavy impost of the human modification of coasts and through general reasons of disturbance, pollution, destruction of habitats and other threats resulting from human activity: from fishing to tourism to urban and industrial dumping. In the face of these threats, the EU adopted in 2006 an Action Plan for biodiversity. This provides for a series of measures, among which appropriately is the completion of the network of marine Special Protection Areas during 2008.

And in Italy?

Our country already has a network of protected sites on the coast that are important for colonies of marine birds, but none offshore. The first task, then, is to identify areas, especially in the open sea, that are potentially important for birds. This is the aim of the project which LIPU, in co-operation with the Ministry of the Environment and other conservation, organisations, has undertaken

Aldo Cosentino, who is in charge of nature conservation at the Ministry, has underlined the necessity of identifying the areas where birds feed and the characteristics of these areas. One of the main objectives in commissioning the research is to discover these favoured spots and then agree to protect them. The identification of important areas for pelagic birds is, then, an essential preliminary to the designation of Special Protection Zones at sea

This research by LIPU is an integral part of the work being carried out with other conservation organisations and co-ordinated by BirdLife International which will identify marine IBAs. By looking at those species whose conservation and management is of the greatest concern LIPU will maximise the value of the study. These target species are Cory’s and Manx Shearwater, Shag, Audouin’s, Slender-billed and Mediterranean Gull, Sandwich, Common and Little Tern.

Threats to Mediterranean species.

Very important birds live in the Mediterranean basin but they are particularly exposed to disturbance from human activity.

Birds have always been objects of fascination and curiosity for humans and among the most beautiful and evocative are sea birds. The Mediterranean is home to hundreds of species that are either pelagic or coastal. The former live most of their lives at sea, only using the land for nesting, while the latter depend on salt marshes and inshore sites. Despite their ecological importance sea birds are so often threatened by human activity that their survival is at risk.

The most serious threat is pollution, from agriculture, urban and industrial waste and the oil dumped in the Mediterranean every year. In addition there are accidental deaths caused by fishing, deliberate and involuntary human pressure on nest sites and the destruction of nests by introduced animals, such as rats. The identification of a network of marine IBAs is the first step towards protecting these marvellous and important birds.

to be continued


LIPU-UK Annual Prize Draw

Each year we hold our annual prize draw and I’d like to explain a little more about it. Firstly, if you don’t like draws and would rather not receive tickets please tell me as I won’t send tickets to those who have said they don’t want them.

For those who do take part you might be surprised to compare your chances with those of similar draws held by larger organisations. Most of our prizes are given by sponsors and for that we are grateful, but the first prize is a cheque for £500 and, last year, just over 240 people bought tickets - so that must offer a pretty good chance of winning!

The draw is also a steady source of income and usually shows a “profit” of about £2,000 so to all those who buy tickets in the coming year, a heartfelt thank you.

The winners of the 2008 draw are:

  1. Peter K Wood; Axbridge, Somerset
  2. Helen Lengley; Atherton, Manchester
  3. Mike Cadman; Epsom, Surrey
  4. Mr M J Hodgkins; Malmesbury, Wilts
  5. Mr M J German; Bath, Somerset
  6. Keith Beswick; Swanton Novers, Norfolk
  7. Mr J L Piper; North Finchley, London
  8. Mr D K Ballance; Minehead, Somerset

* * *

Other Domestic Topics

Bankers’ Orders - with postage costs going up, yet again, may I ask that you consider renewing your membership by Bankers’ Order? I’ll still be happy to receive cheques, but this other way saves a lot of time, trouble and postage for us all; already about half our members use the orders and it would help if more members were to do so.

Another way to cut costs

You can tell I was born in York, with this constant desire to keep our operating costs to a minimum, and some have asked why we don’t simply increase our subscription - after all, there are not many who ask as little as we do. There are arguments both for and against an increase but we feel that we should avoid an increase for as long as possible; some members may have difficulty if the fee was raised and, many who can afford to, already send more than the £15.

So, having said that, what other ways are there? For those who have access to the Internet, we do offer on-line access to our publications and around 200 members currently read the December and June editions on their computers. We still send out the Appeal and Draw issues through the mail but every little helps! It must now be a majority who have access to the Internet so please consider this, it can save paper, printing costs and postage. Send an e-mail to me at and I will be happy to put you on the list and, please, remember to tell me if your e-mail address changes.

* * *


Recently announced is the appointment of Marco Lambertini as the new Chief Executive of BirdLife International (BLI). Marco was Director General of LIPU before joining the Secretariat of BLI as Director of Network and Programmes ten years ago; we send hearty congratulations and look forward to following his success in the new post.

* * *


We have accepted a challenging target in our aims to help LIPU with its vital work next year and the projects we have chosen to support are shown here:

The commitment is to raise €62,500 and I am sure you will all agree that this work is both vital and worthwhile. Please help us in any way you can; in previous years you, the members, have been extraordinarily generous and I’m sure I can count on a similar generosity this year - Thank you all.

* * *


I have been the UK Representative, or delegate, to LIPU far approaching eleven years now and nothing lasts for ever. At some point I shall have to hand over the reins and retire disgracefully, so this might be a good time to think of “succession planning”.

LIPU-UK is a formally constituted and registered charity with a board of trustees who formulate long-term aims and strategy. The day to day functions are carried out by myself with the help of Shirley, my wife and the scope of the work varies from day to day and month to month. At present LIPU-UK has no paid staff, all this is done on a voluntary basis.

If any reader thinks he or she might be interested in this work at some point in the future, this would be the right time to contact me for further information. I have no immediate plans of retirement, but I am sure it’s better to have a smooth hand over than to have to take on the job in haste. Anyone enquiring at this stage would be under no obligation or commitment, just ask the questions and see what you think!

* * *

Translation of this issue has been done so well by:

Cicely Adelson, Jo Bazen, Juliet Cobley, Tony Harris, Caterina Paone, Peter Rafferty, John Walder and Carol Debney who co-ordinated the work - well done.

Line drawings are used courtesy of the RSPB and the photographs (except the Peregrine) are © David Lingard.