ornithology

Detail of a fresco from the House of the Golden Bracelet, Pompeii

The sacred chickens that ruled the roost in ancient Rome

26 May 2018 9:00 am

The art and literature of ancient Greece and Rome is rich in birds. Mark Cocker explores the myths and folklore surrounding them

Above: The Spangled Cotinga of the Amazon Rainforest is one of the seven species known to fly-tiers as the Blue Chatterer. Left: The Resplendent Quetzal, found from Chipias, Mexico to Western Panama

The most bizarre museum heist ever

28 April 2018 9:00 am

Maggie Fergusson discovers a strange fraternity for whom exotic plumage is a criminal passion

Migrating cranes in Vasterbotten, Sweden

The swallows that herald spring

7 April 2018 9:00 am

Sweet lovers, Shakespeare reminds us, love the spring. How can they not? All that wonderfully wanton colour, all that sensual…

The elusive snowy owl in flight

The healing power of owls

10 February 2018 9:00 am

Owls, frontally eyed and nose beaked, look the most human of birds. Accordingly, they have for millennia been prominent in…

The source of Mozart’s inspiration - a great musical whodunnit

2 September 2017 9:00 am

If you were to compare Mozart to a bird it wouldn’t be the starling. Possibly the wood thrush or nightingale,…

Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus) by William MacGillivray

Enraptured by raptors

13 February 2016 9:00 am

The fewer birds there are, the more books about them, particularly of the literary kind. Helen MacDonald’s H is for…

Jan Moir’s diary: In search of the female Viagra

13 June 2015 9:00 am

Down here in west Cornwall, the days are long and summer is on the wing. Like the Tories in Scotland,…

New ways to destroy the world

6 June 2015 9:00 am

Despite the offer of joy proposed in the subtitle, this is a deeply troubling book by one of Britain’s foremost…

The ring-necked parakeet, one of the most successful birds to colonise London, still looks conspicuously out of place in Hyde Park in the snow

What's eating London's songbirds?

16 August 2014 9:00 am

This book, with its absurdly uninformative photographs, dismal charts and smattering of charmless drawings, looks like a report. A pity,…

Drawing of a goshawk by the leading wildlife artist Bruce Pearson. From A Sparrowhawk’s Lament: How British Breeding Birds of Prey are Faring, by David Cobham (Princeton University Press, £24.95, pp. 256, ISBN 9780691157641, Spectator Bookshop, £23.95)

Falling in love with birds of prey

9 August 2014 9:00 am

Is it the feathers that do the trick? The severely truculent expressions on their faces? Or is it their ancient…

Snowy Owl

Toowit-towoo! At long last, a Collins book on owls

8 February 2014 9:00 am

Owls have more associations for us than perhaps any other family of birds, suggested Jeremy Mynott in Birdscapes, so it…