PARENTAL paranoia is killing off our children’s urge to roam and discover the natural world.
“Parents are too paranoid about safety and paedophiles to let their children go out on their own,” said Professor Birkhead.
“When I was young I went off and discovered things. As a bird watcher you learn about observation and I would not be anything like as good a scientist if I had not done that. Bird watching now conjures up images of wooden walkways leading to centrally heated hides. It’s all a bit sanitised.
“Bird-watching used to be a young man’s pastime and now it’s mostly done by the middle-aged and elderly.” But the Professor has hope.
“We had an Outreach day at the university just before Christmas last year and 1,000 nine to 10-year -olds turned up and were totally engrossed.’’