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The birds' beauty belies their often menacing and destructive nature 

Charities call on Londoners to help save the 'Cockney Sparra'

The chirruping of the cockney sparra was once commonplace, but now, ten years since a study found that the bird was on the verge of extinction in the capital, charities are calling on Londoners to help save it.

Cassie’s cartoon depicting the escapers, with himself left behind; below, Richard Murray’s portrait of Cassie

Alexander Cassie: Bomber pilot who helped forge false papers for 'The Great Escape'

Flight Lieutenant Alex Cassie was one of the forgers whose painstaking work made possible the Second World War prison camp break-out that became known as "The Great Escape."

Rare great white egret chick hatches in UK for first time

A great white egret chick has hatched in England, making a new breeding bird record for the UK, Natural England has said.

Symphonies of natural sounds: A Macaw juvenile in flight

The Great Animal Orchestra, By Bernie Krause

This musician-turned-naturalist finds via his fieldwork that calls and cries can be matter of wild life and death.

<p>1 Bresser Junior Kids</p>
<p>£9.95, conrad-uk.com</p>
<p>These children's binoculars have a tempered-glass finish, so the lens won't break if they slip from little fingers, and x6 magnification.</p>

The 10 Best binoculars

1 Bresser Junior Kids

£9.95, conrad-uk.com

These children's binoculars have a tempered-glass finish, so the lens won't break if they slip from little fingers, and x6 magnification.

Population numbers for the robin have increased by 49 per cent since 1970

Robins revel in warmer winters

Populations of the festive favourite soar, but not so for its fellow red-breasts

Summer visitors top list of fastest-falling bird populations

Concern for the fate of Britain's migratory birds has deepened with the disclosure that eight out of the 10 most rapidly declining UK bird species are our summer visitors from Africa.

It's all in the mix: Club legend Gaz Mayall's cave of wonders

Ten thousand records vie for space with primitive art, countless instruments and esoterica 'no one else would want'

Warm dry spell bad for foraging birds

The hottest April on record has made it hard for some garden birds to find food to rear their chicks, wildlife experts have warned.

Gear guide: Outdoor excellence

The insider: How to do crafts (even if you're a needle novice)

When I was small, my grandma tried to teach me to crochet. The memory of the ensuing "Cant do it!" tantrum remains embarrassingly vivid. If, like me, the idea of making your own appeals, but the sight of needles makes you sweat, read on...

Birdwatchers of Britain, your hour has come

The RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch takes place next weekend, a great chance for us all to get involved. David Randall explains how it works

Conservationist tracks bird family struggling to survive

A British conservationist has become the first individual to view all 32 of the extraordinarily beautiful family of birds know as Pittas in the space of one year, as part of a drive to save many of them from extinction.

Album: Dan Haywood's New Hawks, DHNH (Timbreland)

Dan Haywood is a PSOW (poet/singer/ornithologist/whatever) and this epic 32-song album arises from the labour of slogging around rural Scotland, checking out the birds and meditating on the strangeness of life.

My life in travel: Bill Oddie

'New York City is a great place for birdwatching'
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Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing