ARTISTS AND WRITERS SHOW SOME LOVE FOR RED-LISTED BIRDS

23 Jan 2020 | No. 2020-02

A new creative collaboration, bringing together two of Britain’s wild bird charities and leading writers and artists, has just been launched. Titled ‘Red Sixty Seven’, the project seeks to raise awareness of our most at-risk birds and secure additional funds for British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and RSPB scientists to carry out important research, work that should help to secure a future for these species.

Launched today, 16 January 2020, 'Red Sixty Seven' takes its name from the UK Red List of Birds of Conservation Concern, which currently contains 67 species. An artwork has been produced for each species, together with a piece by some of the UK’s leading writers, including Ann Cleeves, Patrick Barkham, Mark Cocker and Adam Nicolson. The artworks, which include pieces by Chris Packham, Daily Mail political cartoonist Paul Thomas, Carry Akroyd and a host of other renowned wildlife artists, are being sold to raise funds. A book combining the artwork and texts will be published by BTO on 14th February.

The project was the brainchild of Kit Jewitt, a birder and part-time conservationist from Northumberland who has made something of a name delivering engaging fundraising projects to support conservation work on birds, both as an individual and through the Probable Bird Society

Kit Jewitt commented ‘The idea was simple; a book featuring the 67 Red-listed birds, each illustrated by a different artist with a personal story from a diverse collection of writers. And every penny from sales donated directly to Red-listed species conservation projects run by BTO and RSPB. All that remained was the small task of persuading 134 people to contribute, and to give their work for free. Red Sixty Seven is the result; 67 love letters to our most vulnerable species, each beautifully illustrated by some of the best wildlife artists around, showcasing a range of styles as varied as the birds in these pages. My hope is that the book will bring the Red List to a wider audience whilst raising funds for the charities working to help the birds most at need.’

Mike Toms, BTO, commented ‘The artworks and texts really bring these 67 birds to life, providing us with a unique opportunity to raise the profile of these birds and to engage new audiences with the work that is being done to conserve them. You only need to look at the artwork, or read the texts, to gain new insight into these species and to discover what they mean for this very diverse community of creatives voices.

More information on the project can be viewed at http://bit.ly/RedSixtySeven

Contact Details
Paul Stancliffe
(BTO Media Manager)
Office: 01842 750050
(9am to 5:30pm Mon-Thurs), (9am to 5pm Friday)
Mobile: 07585 440910
Email: press [at] bto.org ()

Mike Toms
(BTO Head of Communications)
Office: 01842 750050
(9am to 5:30pm Mon-Thurs), (9am to 5pm Friday)
Mobile: 07850 500791
Email: press [at] bto.org ()

Images are available for use alongside this News Release. 
Please contact images [at] bto.org quoting reference 2020–01

The BTO has an ISDN line available for radio interviews. 
Please contact us to book an interview. Office:01842 750050

Notes to editors

Red Sixty Seven
The 67 artworks are being sold as part of the project through 67 ‘lucky dip’ tickets. By purchasing one of the 67 tickets the purchaser is guaranteed to receive one of the artworks, but will not know which one until the tickets and artworks are drawn from a hat on Friday 14 February 2020. The artwork won might be a stunning stained-glass creation by Rachel Taylor, a beautiful watercolour by Darren Woodhead or a pop art by Chris Packham. The artworks can be viewed on the BTO website. Also available is a book, bringing together the artwork and accompanying texts.

Birds of Conservation Concern
The most recent Birds of Conservation Concern review, BOCC4, was published in the journal British Birds in December 2015. Like the previous three reviews, it made for sobering reading, with a substantial jump in the Red List: 67 species were Red-listed, 27.5% of the 244 species assessed and 15 more than ever before. Twenty species moved onto the Red List and three species, Wryneck, Temminck’s Stint and Serin, were moved to the list of ‘former breeders’ – extinct, in other words.

As well as highlighting individual concern for the 67 Red-listed species, BOCC assessments tells us about some of the broader patterns in the UK environment. The new arrivals on the BOCC4 Red List included five upland birds, reflecting growing concerns about the impact of intensive grazing, drainage, and burning in this habitat. Three newly Red-listed seabirds, Puffin, Shag and Kittiwake, joined Herring Gull and Arctic Skua in sounding an alarm about the state of our seas. No less than 16 woodland birds are now Red-listed, although proportionately, farmland birds are the hardest hit with 12 on the list, and numbers of Red-listed farmland birds such as Corn Bunting and Turtle Dove continue to plummet. The latter species also points to another issue – of 50 species classified as long-distance Afro-Palearctic migrants, 21 are now Red-listed.

The good news came through the down-listing from Red to Amber of three species – Ringed Plover, Bittern and Nightjar – with the change in the latter two reflecting population recoveries in response to dedicated conservation action. They follow in the footsteps of Stone-curlew, Woodlark, Marsh Harrier and Red Kite in escaping the Red List – indeed, the latter has now made it to the Green List. Whilst the Red List continues to grow, these demonstrate that we do know how to turn things around: if only we had the resources…

The BTO is the UK's leading bird research charity. A growing membership and up to 60,000 volunteer birdwatchers contribute to the BTO's surveys, collecting information that underpins conservation action in the UK. The BTO maintains a staff of 100 at its offices in Thetford, Stirling, Bangor (Wales) and Bangor (Northern Ireland), who analyse and publicise the results of surveys and projects. The BTO's work is funded by BTO supporters, government, trusts, industry and conservation organisations.www.bto.org