Thursday, 1 March 2012
Great Crested Grebe
This bird was almost extinct in the 19th century due to fashion. It was hunted for their feathers, known as `grebe-fur` which was used in the Victorian fashion industry and also, bizarre though it may seem, the whole bird was worn on the hats of the upper classes of society. It is thought that the numbers of this bird plummeted to less than 100 pairs, a mind-boggingly low number considering its fairly common status now. It was the conservation of this bird that started what we now call the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, or the RSPB for short. A few Victorian ladies were appalled at the senseless killing of these birds and so started the Society for the Protection of Birds and employed some rather ingenious ways of bringing the birds` plight to the fashion concious of the day. They would sit in church and note which lady wore these birds (and other breeds, Little Egrets were also popular) in the hats and then send them letters detailing the barbarous way these birds were butchered just to provide a `pretty` ornament of head gear. The letters hit their mark and thus started the recovery of these beautiful birds.