Blog about animals
Selected the best cow in Germany
Fishing ban proposed near Rockall after rare scientific finds
Life and death on the riverbank
Baboon shot dead after escaping from Knowsley Safari Park
Birdwatch: Peregrine falcon
Iceland's fin whales are endangered. Stop this bloody cull
The pitfalls of elderly dog insurance
Valley where Edward Carpenter, gay rights campaigner and socialist, walked
Green groups warn government of national parks hunting backlash
Demand for ivory destabilising central Africa
Dog walker found neighbour trampled by cows, inquest hears
Cat stands for election in Mexican city
I hear some hip cat's running for mayor in Mexico. That gives me an idea
Wader chick fever grips birds and spotters alike
Philippines destroys five tonnes of elephant tusks
The Dwyfor is surely one of the loveliest of Welsh rivers
New to nature No 107: Typhochlaena costae
How to beat the midges this summer
Controversial herring gull cull gets green light
Whaling's day in court is a sea change for conservation
Australia censures Japan for 'scientific' whaling
The young red deer stags were on their hind legs boxing, just like hares
Our garden's blackbirds started their nest-building early this year
UK wildlife and nature hit hard by erratic weather
  Our dog walks are punctuated by the corn bunting's jingling ringtone
A fortnight of labrador-sitting has brought us out every evening into the livestock-free arable fields of east Bedfordshire. The dog trots along the tracks, stopping to mouth the long grass, roll in dead shrews and other unspeakables. We look and listen for skylarks, yellowhammers and most of all the fat bird of the barley. Every one of our dog walks has been punctuated by the corn bunting's jingling ringtone and we hear it now. In a field of oil-seed rape to our right there are millions of seedpods, hundreds of yellow flowers, and one corn bunting. It sings readily enough from its low perch. Early 20th century ornithologists described the corn bunting's song as being like the jangling of keys. The simile still holds true, though the short snatches suggest they are not long out of pocket.

Towards the junction of two paths, another sound comes from above. A lapwing circles us, swooping close, pulling back, uttering a cry that is half piteous, half warning. Round and round it goes and I become aware that I am spinning on a clay sixpence. Does the bird distract or attract? We find ourselves alerted, scanning the fields for its mate. Sure enough, a little way into a fallow field is another lapwing on the ground. It is moving about a little, a sign that it is chaperoning newly hatched and instantly mobile young.

A little way down a deadend track, beyond the point where a partridge bolts from a field of wheat, is a patch of fine-tilled soil about the size of a football pitch. There are two parallel rows of what look like part-opened dark umbrellas set out evenly spaced on the soil. Another "brolly" is lying on the path and the dog runs towards it and nuzzles it with his snout. We draw close enough to see that it is a dead jackdaw, its head tucked back against its neck. The umbrellas are corvids too, presumably shot and laid out as genuine scarecrows. Our temporary charge raises his grizzled head and scampers on in search of something more or less edible.
'Wild' animals in travelling circuses benefit no one
The intoxicated world of the spotted flycatcher
Fishing quotas can be redistributed to favour smaller vessels high court
Madagascar battling worst locust plague since 1950s
A broody sparrow meets his match
Climate change is happening too quickly for species to adapt
The weird and wonderful world of the naked mole rat
Australian woman seriously injured during Spanish bull run
Spain's endangered Iberian lynx brought back from brink of extinction
One man and his sniffer dog help tackle Germany's hidden drug problem
The hotel that only takes dogs
T rex tooth found embedded in prey, restoring dinosaur's reputation
Bog cotton covers the summer Peak District moors in snow
Lifelike after death: the intricacies of a taxidermist's craft
The six-spot burnet moths complete their transformation
Research on animals in UK rises by 8% to exceed 4m procedures
Animal testing it's time to talk about it again
A pair of lithe animals are tumbling across the grass within feet of me
New to nature no 109: Anochetus hohenbergiae
England's ceremonial mayors eschew fur to support animal rights
Birdwatch: Corn bunting
Madrid declares war on plague of raccoon and parrot invaders
Snow leopards and wild yaks becoming 'fashion victims'
Horn seizure prompts rhinos warning
Threatened seabirds 'neglected' in plans for Scottish marine protected areas
Los Angeles campgrounds closed after plague-infected squirrel found
Only when I look down at the last second do I see it. I recoil instinctively
China's wine boom of little profit to giant pandas and small farmers
Let's not martyr the white-throated needletail to the anti-wind cause
Grasshopper breeder up for design award and educating western palates
Spanish national park could lose Unesco status over illegal boreholes
Dog mauls boy at primary school in Northern Ireland
Our dog walks are punctuated by the corn bunting's jingling ringtone
End in sight for painful branding of semi-wild moorland ponies
New to nature No 108: Carlia decora
Penguins support gorillas as biscuit makers respond to palm oil threat
Measuring carbon age in ivory could help combat poaching, study shows
How to survive a seagull attack
A walk by the river triggers memories of a bygone age
Whales flee from military sonar leading to mass strandings, research shows
Down among the grass stems, a ball of recently hatched orb-web spiderlings
Owen Paterson vows to rid England of bovine TB with badger culls
Gassing of badgers considered in plan to eradicate TB in cattle
Visitors to the Pamplona bull run have blood on their hands
Bats: they've never had it so good
These dew ponds have been on the Downs possibly since medieval times
Australian bushman claims to have footage of legendary night parrot
Secret badger shoots pose 'a risk to public safety'
Cheshire police seize dog believed to have killed Pomeranian
Whale watching season is back - but how close is too close?
Plan to ban wild animals in travelling circuses 'goes too far'
Morrissey donates Channel 4 payout to Peta campaign against foie gras
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