News The steller sea eagle can be 8ft in wing-span

Sea eagle, which has an 8ft wingspan, disappeared on Saturday

Easter black badgers with green onions and wild garlic

Pigeon racing is hardly the same as cockfighting

PETA are campaigning to have pigeon racing outlawed, but I just can't get behind the idea that this is a barbaric sport

'Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop' won Oddest Title of the Year

Book on goblin-proofing chicken coops wins Oddest Title

Title won prize despite competition from a book on Adolf Hitler's health, and a book on how to sharpen pencils

Hedgehogs: Nocturnal ramblings hold few fears for this well-known forager. Terraced gardens have proved to be ideal feeding grounds, far from the peril of roads. They are especially attractive in the middle of the night when the threat of pet dogs is reduced and the hedgehog can concentrate on the important business of snaffling worms and beetles.

Why did the hedgehog NOT cross the road? Because it had adapted its behaviour in order to thrive in a threatening man-made environment

The animals that share our cities are finding ways to prosper from urban living that would leave their country cousins baffled

Oddest Book Title of the Year: What have pigeon lofts, goblinproofing, Hitler and penises got in common?

Forget the Oscars – the real contest this awards season is between pigeon lofts, tea cosies and pencil sharpeners.

A seagull attacks the dove released by Pope Benedict XVI during the Angelus prayer in Saint Peter's square, at the Vatican

A Pope, a dove of peace and a seagull get together...

What could possibly go wrong? You've seen our story about the Pope's attempt to launch a dove of peace into the air from the Vatican yesterday, only for a seagull to vigorously intercept its flight.

Pope Benedict XVI holds a dove he is about to set free, at the end of the Angelus prayer in St. Peter's square, at the Vatican

Pope's dove of peace has wings clipped

When he launched a white dove – a traditional symbol of peace – into the air in St Peter's Square, Pope Benedict XVI was probably not expecting that the effect would be immediate. And certainly he would not have expected the effect to be conflict.

Mass ‘twitcher’ survey to record rare breeds starving in big freeze

RSPB’s ‘Big Garden  Birdwatch’ this weekend is expected to be most exciting for years

Marco Pierre White: 'Every kitchen should have a big chopping board - I'm talking 3ft by 2ft'

My earliest food memory… Collecting cherries, grapes, peaches and figs and eating them while they were still warm from the sun. My mother was Italian and I grew up just outside of Genoa. I remember being tiny, only about three years old, and being fascinated that when you snap a fig off the tree it oozes masses of sticky milk.

Expert dismisses claims WWII pigeon code has been cracked

Historical advisor to Bletchley Park says Canadian historian's solution is 'just silly'

A dairy maid with her cow and a bucket during a Dairy Show in 1913

True loves may come up empty-handed in search of birds and milkmaids

Good luck trying to find a partridge in a pear tree in Britain this Christmas, or even less likely — the true love's token of two turtledoves.

Michael Morpurgo: 'There is a constant clamour for our attention now that is damaging us'

I feel like all the buses in my life came at once The War Horse show, the film, my new book [A Medal for Leroy]. The play has become a living thing. It goes on every night, five casts, all over the world. In fact, someone told me that, at any hour of the day or night, a War Horse production is going on somewhere. It's extraordinary what those puppeteers do [with the horse].

Sienna Miller endured 'horrible' two-hour bird attack while filming The Girl

Men off-camera threw boxes of seagulls and pigeons in her face

The Griffon vulture was fitted with a GPS transmitter

Meet operative PP0277: A secret agent – or just a vulture hungry for dead camel?

Sudan says he's an Israeli operative – but his handlers say he's too easily distracted for that. Matthew Kalman reports on a spy thriller

The News Matrix: Friday 7 December 2012

Rescue dogs learn how to drive cars

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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 15 May 2015
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future