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Winging it

To protect birds, conservation charities should invest in gamekeepers, not nature reserves

By Matt Ridley   June 2010

Easy prey: curlew eggs and chicks need protection from crows and foxes

To walk the Pennine Way in the early morning in spring is to enjoy a symphony of the best bird song imaginable. The woodwind crescendo of the curlew, the piccolo refrain of the golden plover, the zither diminuendos of the peewit, even the violin glissandos of the dunlin—moorland waders fill the air with exquisite sound. Yet a walk over other hills—in Wales, the Lake District or Dartmoor—will yield no such result. The reason has almost nothing to do with pesticides, farming, habitat management, legal protection, or even climate…

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