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The Lapwing Cries

Lapwings, whose bewitching black feathered crests look as elegant as any paraded at Ascot, are the friends of farmers. According to the Oxford Book of Birds, they feed on insect pests in ploughed fields (and have a penchant for dining by moonlight). Their tumbling flight in spring, which shows their dazzling acrobatics (and white tummies), makes them entrancing to those who see them. Shakespeare wrote about them several times. Far from her nest the lapwing cries away. . .

Lapwings may be known to you by their Latin name Vanallus vanallus, or as the green plover or peewit.

Both lapwing parents bravely protect their young. Unhappily, as their natural country of ploughed fields, diverse crops, marshland and river valleys declines in Britain, they are having fewer babies.

But happily, individuals such as Charles Grisedale > and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds > have flown to their defence. Working with farmers they are recreating the wet meadows hospitable to lapwings.

Brits concerned about the widespread killing of birds, whose feathers were exploited for fashion, founded the RSPB in 1889. It is one of the largest wildlife conservation organisations of its kind in the world, and one of the oldest, and I salute the Brits who continue to support it.


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