Lucy Porter: Unendangered species need our love too

I'm just saying...

Share
Related Topics

As a twitcher (something very different from a tweeter) I was dismayed to read that one in five British birds is on the brink of extinction. The list of endangered species does allow you to play the Alternative Meanings for Bird Names game. At our breakfast table we had: twite (a posh swearword), temminck's stint (a famous alleyway in Yorkshire) and balearic shearwater (a disease suffered mainly by DJs). The list also made me think how sad it is that we only celebrate our native birds when they're about to die out. Maybe if we bigged up the more common birds, we'd take a bit more care of them. Here are some fun facts about the more everyday varieties.

Pigeons: until 2004, the feral pigeon was known as the "rock dove", which suggests that the pigeon is just a dove that went to art college, learnt to play guitar, started wearing eyeliner, drinking cheap cider and smoking rollies, and that's why he looks a bit manky.

During the First World War a carrier pigeon called Cher Ami managed to deliver a message that saved the lives of 194 soldiers despite having been shot at by the Germans. The bird arrived at HQ blinded in one eye, with bullets in his breast and one leg hanging on by a tendon. The man from Tesco's didn't deliver my shopping last week because of a bit of snow. I'm just saying.

The pigeon is the only non-mammal that can recognise itself in a mirror. In experiments the birds have been able to differentiate between human faces. So when they poo on you, it IS personal.

If pigeons are the rats of the air, gulls are the pitbulls of the air. Gulls have been found to snack on LIVE whales, tearing off chunks of flesh. They regularly mug people for chips, and one gull got caught shoplifting Doritos from the RS McColl newsagents in Aberdeen.

The gull has a life expectancy of 49 years and they start breeding when they are three. Feel free to insert your own joke about them being like inhabitants of an area of poor socio-economic status. Herring gulls also have prophylactic unhinging jaws. I don't know exactly why, or even what this means, but The Prophylactic Unhinging Jaws may be the name of the band the rock dove joined shortly before it started taking heroin and moved into a squat. I could go on, but space is limited. Let's just celebrate common birds before they go the way of the Whimbrel (a Belgian cravat) and the Fieldfare (a South African supermarket chain).

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

 

General Election 2015: The SNP and an SMC (Salmond-Murdoch Conspiracy)

Matthew Norman
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk