Birding Journals and Magazines
Because birdwatching is so popular both as a form of recreation and as a science, and can be practised by amateurs as well as professionals, several journals are published, each with a slightly different editorial policy.
Birds is published quarterly by the RSPB and sent to its members free of charge. This is a very popular magazine which contains a wide variety of articles on birds, both common and rare, bird protection, behaviour and biology as well as news of RSPB and other ornithological events. It is liberally illustrated with colour photographs and paintings and is really in a field of its own.
Bird Study is the quarterly journal of the British Trust for Ornithology and is sent free to members. It publishes the results of corporate research organized by the Trust as well as original papers by BTO members of a more general nature. This journal is read by both the keen amateur ornithologist and the scientist.
British Birds is a monthly magazine devoted to British birds published by Macmillan Journals Ltd. This journal is, again, read by both the keen amateur ornithologist and scientist. Like Bird Study it is a journal that one keeps and forms the basis of a library. It publishes original observations in the form of scientific papers or short notes. Also included are reviews and comments; the journal is also illustrated with excellent black and white photographs.
Ibis is the quarterly journal of the British Ornithologists’ Union and publishes papers on birds and ornithology anywhere in the world. It is a valuable and uncompromisingly scientific journal for the ornithologist.
I am not suggesting that you should purchase all these journals or indeed that they are all the journals that an ornithologist will look at in the course of a year. A more comprehensive list can be found in appendix I. Ringing and Migration and Wildfowl cover more specific areas than the previous journals, while the Journal of Animal Ecology, the Journal of Applied Ecology, the Journal of Zoology and Behaviour all carry some scientific papers about birds. Your local ‘bird club’ may take copies of these journals. It is also possible for the serious student to make use of the libraries of the Edward Grey Institute for Field Ornithology at Oxford, the RSPB, the BTO at Tring, the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club in Edinburgh and the British Museum (Natural History).
At this point I should mention three excellent regional journals. In Scotland the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club publishes Scottish Birds which includes notes and articles on Scottish Ornithology. In Wales, Nature in Wales published by the Naturalists’ Trusts of Wales, includes the ornithological report for Wales as well as other papers on birds and other aspects of natural history in Wales. In Ireland the Irish Wildbird Conservancy publishes the IWC News. At a local level the county birds clubs annually publish county bird reports which are the results of observations and surveys by local members and represent much of the work which is undertaken by these clubs. These reports represent the basic data from which it is possible to detect the fluctuations in the populations of birds over the years. It is usually from these sources too, that the county bird books are compiled.