natural history

Eager for beavers : the case for their reintroduction

12 September 2020 9:00 am

Conservationists are frequently criticised for focusing on glamorous species at the expense of others equally important but unluckily uglier —…

Why fungi might solve the world’s problems

12 September 2020 9:00 am

The biologist Merlin Sheldrake is an intriguing character. In a video promoting the publication of his book Entangled Life, which…

The world’s largest, rarest owl is used for target practice in Siberia

1 August 2020 9:00 am

The montane forests of far-eastern Russia have given rise to one of the finest nature books of recent years, The…

The sex life of the Monarch butterfly is positively wild

25 July 2020 9:00 am

Wendy Williams is an enthusiast, and enthusiasm is infectious. Lepidoptery is for her a new fascination, and it shows. On…

Children should get out more — even if it’s for hide and seek in the park

20 June 2020 9:00 am

We live in an urban world. It’s a statistical fact. The great outdoors for most of us is a thing…

Ireland through the eyes of a brilliant teenage naturalist

13 June 2020 9:00 am

Dara McAnulty is a teenage naturalist from Northern Ireland. He has autism; so do his brother, sister and mother —…

Where did birds first learn to sing?

23 May 2020 9:00 am

Fieldwork can move the most rigorous scientist to lyricism, as Mark Cocker discovers

Nature fights back with tooth and claw as we persist in destroying it

28 March 2020 9:00 am

Where to turn in anxious and febrile times? One answer is to nature, or the ‘non-human living world’, which, despite…

Dangerously desirable: the white-morph gyr falcon commands sky-high prices

29 February 2020 9:00 am

The art of falconry is more than 3,000 years old and possibly as popular now as at any time. Its…

From pets to pests: cats, rabbits and now raccoons

6 July 2019 9:00 am

I was shocked some years ago to discover, as I scratched bites on my ankles on holiday on Maui, that…

Pigeons are plucky and loyal — so don’t go poisoning them in the park

22 June 2019 9:00 am

Growing up as a rootless army brat in bases home and abroad, I would listen in appalled delight to my…

As a result of willow-munching, beavers secrete salicylic acid — the active ingredient in aspirin

Busy beavers: in praise of man’s natural ally

1 September 2018 9:00 am

The British experience of beavers is somewhat limited. Most of us haven’t been lucky enough to have spied an immigrant…

Wonder is all around

25 November 2017 9:00 am

Different people find different things impressive. Some claim, for instance, to experience a sense of wonder at the fact of…

At feeding time, Jacqueline Yallop’s pigs splash their noses through the grain, ‘bringing them up white and floury, like old-fashioned Sherbet Dabs’

Swine fever

26 August 2017 9:00 am

‘Rightly is they called pigs,’ says a farmworker in Aldous Huxley’s Crome Yellow as he watches porkers grunt and squelch.…

Hope, the blue whale, replaces Dippy, the diplodocus, in the Natural History Museum’s Hintze Hall

Cathedral of creation

12 August 2017 9:00 am

Sometimes, it pays to rediscover what’s already under your nose. I’ve been umpteen times to the Natural History Museum but…

Dan Powell

Formidable black talons…

5 August 2017 9:00 am

I often feel slightly sorry for the British nature writer. It’s not an attractive emotion — it sounds patronising —…

An otter’s metabolism is so high that you’d have to eat 88 Big Macs a day to match it

Charles Foster: ‘I need to be more of a badger’

20 February 2016 9:00 am

Being a Beast is an impassioned and proselytising work of philosophy based on a spectacular approach to nature writing. That…

Red sky of warning: Elephants and Cape buffaloes cross the Luangwa River

The Luangwa is far from being a happy valley

30 January 2016 9:00 am

Simon Barnes opens with a presumably true idea, that we are all in search of our own versions of paradise…

A piece of primeval England reborn in Sussex

30 May 2015 9:00 am

A piece of ancient England is being reborn around a castle in Sussex

Bigger mouths and longer legs—all the better to bite you with, and run away

Bigger, better bedbugs bite back with a vengeance

25 April 2015 9:00 am

‘Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite,’ my mother used to say when she tucked me in at…

Henry Walter Bates supervises the capture of an alligator in the Amazon

All in the name of science: three young naturalists go on an Amazonian killing-spree

21 March 2015 9:00 am

John Hemming is our greatest living scholar-explorer. He is best known for his extraordinary first book The Conquest of the…

To be astonished by nature, look no further than Claxton

11 October 2014 9:00 am

Mark Cocker is the naturalist writer of the moment, with birds his special subject. His previous book, Birds and People,…

Left: ‘Blackbere’ from Helmingham Herbal and Bestiary, c. 1500. Right: Common Hoopoe, c. 1789, by William Lewis

The British countryside in prints and paper-cuts

26 July 2014 9:00 am

The Yale Center for British Art holds the largest collection of British art outside the UK. An impressive collection it…

Meadow pipit

Read this book and you’ll see why our meadows are so precious

7 June 2014 9:00 am

This book is a portrait of one man’s meadow. Our now almost vanished meadowland, with its tapestry of wildflowers, abundant…

How we lost the seasons

4 January 2014 9:00 am

... for tomorrow traditional seasonal rituals may just be ghostly memories of a vanished world, says Melanie McDonagh