Every issue, we ask well-known birders questions about their hobby. This month it’s the turn of campaigner for nature Jonny Rankin
Campaigner for nature Jonny Rankin answers our birding questions this month
What first sparked your interest in birdwatching?
Family! I grew up feral in the north-east of England and I am all the better for it! I received a good grounding in the natural world from both my grandfather and father.
Who was your birdwatching inspiration or mentor?
Did you bird alone or with a friend.?
Most frequently alone and thereafter with my good friend, Malcolm Fairley.
Your dream bird to see?
Steller’s Sea Eagle.
Your favourite birding spot?
Anywhere with solitude and aside from the maddening masses! I like the King’s Forest (locally) to myself, and northern Norway (further afield).
Your classic birding lunch, grabbed from the filling station chiller cabinet?
I don’t eat from filling station chiller cabinets.
Stock Dove or Rock Dove?
Favourite bird song or call
‘Turring’ Turtle Dove.
Birdwatching’s biggest myth or misconception?
That birdwatching is anything other than respectful nature worship. That is the primary; anything else you put upon it – is cheapening and secondary at best!
The best bird you have ever seen.
Identifying gulls – nightmare or a nice day out?
If there was literally nothing else going, perhaps mid-winter, I would give the gulls a look. It is, however, the birdwatching equivalent of a 2am nightclub decision. You’ll regret it in the morning.
Your favourite bird joke?
I don’t joke.
How do we encourage young people to watch birds?
Lead by example. People do what they wish – which is usually awful!
Blackcap or Garden Warbler?
The one place you would love to go birding?
A birding/conservation issue you feel strongly about?
Species extinction, continued habitat destruction, the lack of political or public will for anything beyond the end of their nose! Oh and Turtle Doves, too – I like them.
The bird that annoys you the most?
The bogey bird that still eludes you?
Night Heron – both at home and abroad!
The bird book you would never be without?
Collins Bird Guide.
Why do you love birdwatching in three words?
Only nature is real.
Advice for birders taking part in #My200birdyear?
Get out there as much as possible. You probably won’t regret it!
JONNY RANKIN Twitter: @Jonny09jonny
Dove Step 3 Just Giving: www.justgiving.com/ fundraising/dovestep3
ê Jonny’s favourite bird produces his favourite bird song, too! Mike Lane / Alamy TURTLE DOVE