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There are over 7,000 English names for birds – here's what they teach us about our changing relationship with nature

By Andrew Gosler, Professor of Ethno-ornithology, University of Oxford
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I shall never forget hearing my first nightingale. It was May 8 1980, and as a recent graduate in environmental biology, I had moved to Oxford.

While searching for a job, I volunteered my time transcribing bird records for the Oxfordshire Biological Records Scheme based in the County Museum. Here I discovered that the nightingale, a bird that had so far eluded me,…


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