Right of Reply: Graham Wynne

The chief executive of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds replies to a feature article that was critical of bird watchers
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The Independent Culture
CLIVE GAMMON ("I'm in Bognor, any chance of a quick bird?", 21 October) is quite right when he says that Britain is increasingly a nation of bird-lovers, but any anoraks are worn with pride.

We may be bird crazy, but this certainly doesn't make us feather-brained. Birds are easy to enjoy and develop an active interest in, they are visible in all seasons and they both look good and sound good.

Their presence indicates a healthy environment and reassures us that all is not lost. The growing numbers of people who are prepared to support their conservation through the RSPB and similar organisations in the UK and world-wide provide some hope for the future.

The BBC Natural History Unit's Life of Birds series deserves to attract a global viewing audience with its wonderful mix of entertainment and education.

They can marvel at the awesome variety and tenacity of birds, a vivid illustration of what we stand to lose by not taking action to save vital habitats, from Cardiff Bay to the vanishing rainforests. The loss of such irreplaceable places is a loss not just to wildlife but also to the whole of humankind.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is not "reluctant" to discuss its finances. On the contrary, our annual report has recently been published and gives full details of our income and expenditure: 80 per cent of our income is spent on a wide range of conservation actions both here and abroad.

Our members and the millions more who value birds and other wildlife so highly are the public voice for conservation in the UK.

Their enthusiasm and support offers hope for the future of the wonderful variety of birds and wildlife that we still have. It makes perfect sense that this diversity should prompt both celebration and active conservation - and millions of people agree.