Snow takes heavy toll on barn owls

Barn owls were badly affected by the snow and freezing conditions this winter, with a record number of birds that had been ringed found dead.

Hen harriers fight for survival

The survival of hen harriers in England "hangs by a thread", conservationists have warned, as figures showed just seven pairs of the bird of prey nested successfully this year.

The Hedwig effect: Harry Potter blamed for endangering owls

In the years since he was a callow pupil at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry Potter and his associated world have known no shortage of controversy.

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (PG)

Voices: Helen Mirren, Sam Neill, Jim Sturgess, Geoffrey Rush, Hugo Weaving

Radamisto, Coliseum, London

Accustomed as we are to director David Alden's unforgiving austerity, the riot of pink and blue stencilled wall fabric that assaults the eye at the start of his staging of Handel's Radamisto is in itself positively exotic.

Handel Radamisto, English National Opera

Accustomed as we are to director David Alden’s unforgiving austerity, the riot of pink and blue stencilled wall fabric (designer Gideon Davey) that assaults the eye at the start of his staging of Handel’s Radamisto is in itself positively exotic.

Kestrel population plunges by a third

One of the UK's most familiar birds of prey, the kestrel, has drastically declined in numbers, a survey of British birds reveals today. The latest Breeding Birds Survey shows that the number of kestrels, which are often seen hovering over roads looking for small rodents, plunged by 36 per cent between 2008 and 2009.

Police raid estate over dead birds

An estate in the Highlands was raided by police yesterday after a number of birds of prey, believed to have been poisoned, were found dead in the area.

Britten, Billy Budd, Glyndebourne Festival Opera

Britten’s gripping masterpiece begins in fateful indecision oscillating in the violins between major and minor key centres as the old and broken Captain Vere looks into his soul for answers as to why he put duty before reason to condemn the one man who seemed to reinforce his faith in human nature.

Tosca, English National Opera, London

It comes as no surprise at all that Catherine Malfitano, a once notable Tosca herself, has fashioned a staging of the opera which frees the singers in ways she herself would have welcomed.

Police investigate golden eagle deaths

Wildlife detectives are investigating the suspected poisoning of three of Britain's rarest bird of prey, the golden eagle. The bodies of the birds were all found in the last week on the 3,000 hectare Skibo estate in the Scottish Highlands.

Wise owls cash in as vole population soars

The tawny owl population in one of the UK's largest forests is booming as a result of the harsh winter, a Forestry Commission expert said today.

Owls chairman: Palace got off easy

Ahead of the relegation showdown between the two clubs on Sunday the Sheffield Wednesday chairman Lee Strafford has suggested Crystal Place should already have been relegated after going into administration.

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Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment