Wild Birds is a photography project which contemplates the changing situations of British Birds. In the past 50 years, there have been dramatic losses. It is possible to reel off horrifying statistics amongst many of our most beautiful species. Turtle doves are down 98%, Tree sparrows 90%, Starlings 82%. In total there are 70 critically endangered species. Research suggests this has occurred due to agricultural practices, climate change, habitat loss, and domestic cats.

Birds are very receptive to changes and are a useful indicator of the health of our environment. They exist in almost all habitats and are easily observable, with a longstanding recorded history from both scientists and enthusiasts. In a world where nature, climate, geography, and human society is all connected, we can find a lot of information by studying birds. Their distribution can tell us about pollution or even detect early signs of a disease outbreak. So deeply woven is our ecosystem that it is possible to quantify fish populations from looking at the stress hormones of seabirds. If our birds are suffering what does this mean for the health of our environment? What does it mean for the future? For us?

It is easy to imagine a dystopia, but this arrangement does offer a glimmer of hope. It can also mean that positive efforts may help in unprecedented ways. According to Birdlife International, extinction rates have been reduced by 40% in the last 30 years thanks to conservation work. Nature can be extremely resilient. It can adapt and recover quickly. In the UK, many of our wildlife reserves are reclaimed coal mines, ports, and rubbish tips. It is thought that an oystercatcher can change the shape of its beak in 10 days to adapt to a new food source. Scientists in Seychelles recently discovered reiterative evolution. The Aldabra Rail was made extinct by flooding some 136,000 years ago and has evolved once more. These instances offer exciting prospects, but both hope and abstract despair for the future is useless. What we require is to be present and act.

I thank the people who have helped this cause so far and featured in my project. During the time spent at their reserves, I volunteered my services to do some conservation work. It was a simple way to ensure a positive impact. I view this work as a form of Land Art. Sculpting the landscape to improve habitats for wildlife is rewarding. The planned pieces in this book offer instruction for others to use too.

I do believe photography is an active approach too. It is a mediator which can provide science with engagement and mass appeal. The subjectivity it possesses is but a strength. Pictures can reflect more than the present. When accompanied by our ideas, we can place a past or future upon them. Just as every person will bring their knowledge to the pictures, each will vary as time endures. 

As an Artist, I am more interested in the questions that may result from my pictures than trying to provide the solutions to this tragedy. We look to both science and photography for answers but rarely does it provide them. A new set of questions is, however, a beautiful thing. It is an active and engaged mind, and a full picture of how to help this situation can only be formed with some imagination.