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Animals

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When wild animals in our midst become celebrities

A very short piece for you this week, inspired by the story of Barry the owl, a much-loved and nonchalant female barred owl from Central Park in New York.

A brown and white owl sitting on a branch, looking at the camera.
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A farm's old stone structures can house birds, bats – and history

Most of the lime kilns are gone now. Old maps from the 19th Century suggest they were once dotted all around the farms run by Shane McAuliffe, a pig farmer in Ireland.

A farm's old stone structures can house birds, bats – and history
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Why not make offerings to nature every time we take something from it?

In the Altai Mountains of western Mongolia, travellers sometimes stumble on stone cairns topped with horse skulls and sticks flying coloured prayer flags. People have clearly put these installations there on purpose.

A cairn of stones, topped with some horse skulls and a stick flying blue and yellow prayer flags on a hillside.
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Beautiful, wild and free - what birds mean to us

At the height of the first lockdown, when Belfast’s streets were quieter than I’ve ever known them (quieter than they probably ever will be again), my wife and I walked through an inner suburb of Belfast and spotted two buzzards soaring above us.

A painting of two peregrine falcons eating a duck carcass.
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This lemur, feared by some, helps farmers – and that could save it

You’re probably aware by now of this newsletter’s basic premise: that human culture can, sometimes, benefit biodiversity – directly or indirectly. Think of artists celebrating nature or communities who share in protecting their local environment and this may seem relatively unproblematic.

This lemur, feared by some, helps farmers – and that could save it