Sunday, 9 February 2014

The end of a very long line

The very last edition of Birding World
I started this year with all the best intentions of keeping a regularly updated blog with all my latest news and views. Well, so much for that. My main excuse is the fact that I was frantically finishing my next book - Look Up! How To Be An Urban Birder.

Had I not been so preoccupied I would have been lamenting the loss of Birding World which published its last edition in December after 27 years in early January. I will really miss this monthly magazine because of the great ID articles that they carried, the publication's pioneering attitude towards splitting species and of course, the monthly rarity updates for not only the UK but for Europe as well. The final issue also showed me how out of touch I had become. Birding World always educated me with latest splits so when I saw the editorial covering the occurrences of Laurence's Brent Goose I thought, 'What the hell is that? Never heard of it!'

I have had a long connection with Birding World because I knew co-founder, Richard Millington from back in the day. Back then the magazine was known as 'Twitching' and was produced quite cheaply as a black-and-white stapled print out. At the time I was working at The Sunday Times and I managed to secure an editorial piece for the magazine in the paper. A thankful Richard Millington gave me five years free subscription thereafter and my love affair with Twitching and latterly Birding World began.

I guess with the advent of the internet and with it the fact that the up to date birding news is now instantly available must have taken its toll on subscriptions. But there is something very visceral about receiving the news in the form of a magazine that you can file away and refer back to. Yes, I will miss it. Not least because it made me visit my mum on a monthly basis. You see, the address for my subscription was at her house. I never changed it. Don't get me wrong, I love visiting my old mum but it made her feel good to hand over my copy of Birding World still wrapped in its delivery cellophane. Good things never last.

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