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The birds' beauty belies their often menacing and destructive nature 

Five bolt-holes for bird watchers

Binoculars at the ready, wing your way to these havens for twitchers.

The Hide (15)

Part of the ICA's New British Cinema season, The Hide is a modestly scaled but cleverly written chamber piece, and a refuge from the blare of Terminator Salvation.

Michael McCarthy: The truth about Elliot Morley - the man I knew

Sometimes sheer longevity gives you a right to pass judgements. In the course of reporting on the environment for The Independent, I have observed every single Labour environment minister since the party came into office in 1997, and I have no doubt at all that the one who has done the most to protect the natural world is Elliot Morley.

Album: Andrew Bird, Noble Beast, (Bella Union)

Birdwatchers rejoice – the familiar markings are all here: pizzicato violins, whistling, linguistic gymnastics.

Bearded Tit, By Rory McGrath

A gentle and affectionate history of the author's pursuit of birds, both feathered and not, this life story through ornithology will appeal to fans of McGrath's blokeish but self-deprecatory humour.

Hunt for the world's rarest bird

It's the rarest bird of the Old World, so rare, in fact, that it hasn't even been glimpsed for nearly a decade. It may even be extinct. But conservationists think the slender-billed curlew may still be hanging on, and yesterday a global quest was launched to find it.

Egrets? We've had a few

Rapidly spreading bird breeds in UK for first time as temperatures rise to warmer temperatures

Goodie turns baddie as viewers protest at Oddie's 'X-rated' wildlife commentary

For the millions of viewers who tune in every week, the BBC's Springwatch, fronted by the former Goodie Bill Oddie, has long been a beacon of prime-time decency. So it came as a shock to many when, earlier this week, the presenter used rather direct language when narrating sexual congress in the natural world.

Jersey police to search six more sites

Police will extend their search at a former Channel Islands children's home to six more areas today after a body was found there.







No privacy for white-crowned sparrow on rare visit to Britain

Question: when does a sparrow excite more birdwatchers than an eagle would? Answer: when it's a white-crowned sparrow from the United States, hopping around in Norfolk.

Don't lose your head over a headache

Headaches drive millions of us to despair, and according to Harvard scientists half of us have at least one a month. Yet the majority are not caused by any disease. So what triggers them? And how are they best treated? Roger Dobson investigates

Film Studies: Film school is fine - but it sure doesn't teach you about movies

The London Film School is 50 years old, and it is being celebrated at the National Film Theatre. I have mixed feelings, perhaps because when I went there, in 1960, it was the London School of Film Technique. As a name, this was either ingenious or very shy. I suppose it implied that students would be taught to do very difficult things - like tuning up Lord Attenborough's Bentley. Did it also imply that the larger things - "Why film?", "What is film?" - were too much for Electric Avenue, in Brixton, south London? That's where the school was then: you'd have thought the name "Electric" might have inspired someone into calling the school "The Truth 24 Times a Second".

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War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

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Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

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Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

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Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

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Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

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The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

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Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

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Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

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Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

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