Letter: The magpie is guilty

Sir: I read with interest your article on the disappearance of sparrows (13 November), and I beg to differ with Denis Summers-Smith when he rules out the increase of wild birds of prey as a cause for the decline of sparrows.

Country and Gardens: Nature Notes

EVERY TIME a disused barn is turned into a dwelling for human beings, barn owls lose a potential nesting site - and the huge number of conversions made in recent years has been one reason for the decline of our most spectacular night bird. Farmers used to regard barn owls highly because they killed so many rats and mice, and barns were often built with holes near the gables in the outer walls, to make good nesting sites for them.

Right of Reply: Graham Wynne

The chief executive of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds responds to an article stating that, following strict protection of hen harriers, grouse moor owners were cancelling shooting owing to a shortage of birds

Golden eagles deliberately killed with poisoned bait

AT LEAST two golden eagles have been killed in the Scottish Highlands after apparently being poisoned with an insecticide used against birds of prey.

Country & Garden: Where eagles fear to tread

Country Matters

Secretarial The Temp: Don't you get sniffy with me

ROB ALWAYS starts the day in a gloom and ends it on a high. I've noticed this about various people I've worked for, particularly in the financial, fashion and advertising industries, but increasingly, it seems to be creeping into the way that people in service industries - even accountants - deal with the day.

Red kite returns to the North after 100 years after 100-year absence

A RED KITE flying to freedom, one of six released yesterday more than 100 years after breeding pairs became extinct in England and Scotland. The birds of prey were set free from the Harewood estate near Leeds as part of the Yorkshire Red Kite Project, in the hope that they will colonise an old haunt. They were fitted with radio transmitters and coloured wing tags. The birds had died out in England and Scotland by the late 19th century, although a few remained in Wales. They have been reintroduced gradually since 1989.

Here's one way to Keep Britain Tidy: modify all birds

With Monsanto Friendly Bird Seed, robins will be cuter and have optional blue or green breasts

Coiuntry: Nature Notes

PIERCING WHISTLES ring out over the valley every day now as buzzards start up their annual mating routine. In twos and threes - sometimes even five or six at a time - the big hawks soar above the escarpment as they pair off and stake out their territories. On set wings, keeping their upward-curved primary feathers separated like fingers, they cruise in wide spirals for minutes on end without any apparent effort. Sometimes the birds are mobbed by crows, which deliberately harass them, making recklessly close passes and occasionally forcing them into sudden changes of course. Every now and then a crow pushes its luck too far and gets grabbed in mid-air.

Skiing: Maier prepared to face `Birds of Prey'

THE PISTE is called "The Birds of Prey" but Hermann Maier has no intention of doing any flying in the World Championship downhill at Beaver Creek, Colorado. A year ago, the Austrian memorably hurtled through the air to disaster at the Nagano Winter Olympics but came back to win two golds.

Birds of prey study seeks helpers

Birds of prey study seeks helpers

Letter: Roundly irritating

Sir: The latest complaint in The Irritations of Modern Life wrongly refers to "round robins" (Review, 23 December).

Virta walks on air to wing Eagles

Nottingham Panthers 2 Ayr Scottish Eagles 1

Birds of prey 'ambush pigeons in mid-race'

PIGEON FANCIERS are demanding immediate action to save their sport. They are calling on Parliament to protect vulnerable homing birds from a growing number of air-borne predators.
Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
News
Astronauts could be kept asleep for days or even weeks
scienceScientists are looking for a way to keep astronauts in a sleeplike state for days or weeks
Sport
Fabian Delph celebrates his goal
footballChristian Benteke and Fabian Delph turn semi-final after Liverpool goal
Life and Style
Model wears: top £29.50, leggings £25, jacket £29.50, bag £25, all marksandspencer.com
fashion
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The new-look Top of the Pops could see Fearne Cotton returns as a host alongside Dermot O'Leary
music
Sport
video
Latest stories from i100
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own