You wait for ages…

… for Birding World to drop through the letterbox and finally drag itself out of the mire due to some cracking birds this autumn in Britain and Ireland and further afield in Europe and for what? Another crap issue that is now beaten to any of the decent finders reports by Birdwatch Magazine.

Why do I bother?


14 responses to “You wait for ages…

  1. I don’t know – why do you bother? I stopped subscribing years ago and I don’t miss it at all.

  2. thedrunkbirder

    I’m not sure either – very occasionally now you get something useful.

  3. You’re right John now and again you do get something useful – I always used to read mine whilst on the throne. Now and again I would fail to check the bog roll situation but no fear I had my Birding World to get me through a crisis though it had the absorbancy of Izal!!

  4. Stopping my subscription years ago was one of the best cost-cutting decisions I ever made. Take it then that it’s still a boring pile o’ shite with articles on how to separate x from y based on the colour of the cloacal tract and why it is therefore a new species etc

  5. thedrunkbirder

    Hmmm, Skev – I think you’re talking about Micro Moth ID there. A couple of months ago there was a ggod article on Black Tern ID illustrated by Ian Lewington but this kind of thing is now very rare. Birding World might be more useful if they did something more statistically with records of scarce birds. The rare birds are well covered by the BBRC but breakdowns by county etc of non-BB rarities would be very useful.

  6. ID articles are very rare now because there’s not much left that can’t be identified, at least by ‘normal’ (i.e. not equipped with a portable DNA testing kit) birders.

    And don’t BB do a scarce birds report any more? They certainly used to.

  7. The person who did the scarce migrants work for BB stopped after 2007 and as far as I know nobody has taken over.
    One of several things that I don’t like about Birding World is how they set themselves up as a taxonomic body: as far as they are concerned American Black Tern is now a full species. It might well turn out to be but it is not up to them to decide.
    So I’m pondering stopping too John.

  8. Reckon i might start gettin BB again…have heard there’s some good stuff in it these days.
    Like a lot of birdy publications the material within is always gonna be rather hit n miss. Am not surprised that Birding World has so many articles that don’t interest ‘most folk’…there’s only a limited amount of info ‘out there’ that ain’t on tinternet….[plus of course…BW…[allegedly]!…pay relatively shit money to people wanting to submit ‘stuff’’s etc…[so i have heard]! Apparently one should feel very privileged to have something published in BW coz you get all the associated kudos!!!?…[good excuse to pay you ‘peanuts’…which is okay if you are a ‘tit’ i suppose]….all ‘business’ m’boy…’same as it ever was’…

    ps…’same as it ever was’ is one of my favorite lines off a ‘talking heads’ track….’once in a lifetime’..?

    pps….i suppose if BW did start paying more dough for articles/photo’s then..obviously…price would be hiked up…considerably….! Swings n roundabouts……

  9. thedrunkbirder

    I can agree to some extent Andy but I do feel there’s something to be gained for doing say, a really good article on rare phylloscs with proper artwork. There must be some scope in that, surely?

    Martin Garner also did an excellent book the other year called Frontiers of Birding – it features some fabulous plates by Ian Lewington but let down by being reproduced in B&W – why? These could easily be redone in something like BW.

    BB do occasionally do the scarce birds but there’s no commitment to it and it’s always well out of date by the time it does get done.

    It gets a bit longer but if it doesn’t buck up it will soon be toast…

  10. thedrunkbirder

    Welcome aboard Steve – I miss the scarce migrants bit. BB always made it very hard for themselves by getting all info from Bird Reports. This was never going to suceed as some clubs are behind and some haven’t done a report for years – Lincolnshire is a case in point – a prime migrant county as well. Surely a reasonably accurate summary could be compiled from the RBA or Birdguides news services.

  11. On the subject of BW John any chance you could scan me the Putative Brown Shrike on Shetland article? The word on the street is that it might not contain the whole truth and nothing but the truth!

  12. thedrunkbirder

    Mark, I can’t scan it as my scanner won’t work anymore. I can however copy it at work. Email me your address.

  13. I know I’m commenting on this about three years after everybody else, but for what it’s worth BB is by far the best birding rag these days (and I’m not just saying that because the editor happens to be my mate and neighbour). The scarce migrant stuff as far as I know is still ongoing and will appear some time soon. There is no way that BB could do a scarce migrant report based on RBA/Birdguides info – as we all know (or those of us who have had the pleasure of dealing with “reports” sent to/used by information services) at least half of these reports are utter bollocks. So using local bird reports is the only way of getting a sensible review done, even if it takes a few years. Not everything has to be written instantly these days, despite what you may think. BB sets itself up as “the journal of record”, so whether it’s written up five minutes or five years later isn’t that important – people use Birding World as bog paper and keep BB on their shelf, which is why it’s laster 100 years.
    And BB always pay for photos; Birding World don’t unless you have some kind of wanky “agreement” with them. Have a look at BW from about August 2008 – somethng like 16 photos, a whole article and another half an article – £65. I’d have earned five times that much working in Macdonalds if there was one here.
    Thank you and good night.

  14. Hi all,
    Gave up BW some time during 2007, and, despite getting a chance to look through all the issues I had missed up to and including April 2009 at a friend’s house earlier this year, I saw that I had missed almost nothing of interest that I didn’t see online or in another journal or two. It says something that there have been TWO ‘papers’ on hybrid Siberian x Willow Tits (when I say ‘papers’, I mean photo articles with hardly any text other than what appears in the captions).
    Agree that BB is head and shoulders above the rest (and, no, I’m NOT on commission), and also think that Dutch Birding has a lot to recommend it, even if half of it is written in Dutch: the bits that are in English in a given year still outweigh the good stuff in BW, and that’s with half the number of issues per annum as well…
    There’s still plenty of stuff at the ‘cutting edge’ of bird identification, but not requiring portable DNA kits, where BW could well include hypotheses waiting to be tested, like in the old days, but I fear that the journal has a kind of moribund air about it at the moment, to be honest.

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