Bill Oddie is clearly a little hot under the collar the moment, as he makes his case for the red grouse being adopted as Britain's national bird. His suggestion has arisen because the famous naturalist and former comedy star of the Goodies is concerned that certain wealthy people in society are killing the feathered moorfowl for sport. By elevating the bird to national 'emblem' status, he feels that they are likely to receive more protection and the people who are currently killing them may think twice about their actions.

Speaking earnestly and very obviously from the heart at the Oxford Literary Festival, Oddie asked the assembled audience how they thought that people would react about "blasting the national bird to buggery?" His comments were in reaction to what he perceives as the actions of a number of rich "dishonest, cruel" people in society, who have been hunting the red grouse for what he views as being purely for the reasons of sport.

Oddie went on to elaborate just why he believes that the red grouse would be a perfect choice as Britain's national bird, saying that it is the "only actual endemic British bird - all the others are variations of that."

The concept of a national bird for the country was put forward earlier in the month by the ornithologist David Lindo, with the general British public being encouraged to vote for their choice. That list has been whittled down to just ten, with voters having until 7th May to make their selection known. Lindo is surprised and a little embarrassed that the nation doesn't have a national bird already, with such as the United States having adopted the bald eagle for such purposes since 1776.

Other countries such as Mexico, Sweden, Jamaica, Latvia and even Bhutan all have one of their own. France have the Gallic rooster and India have put forward the peacock as their choices.

It doesn't appear as though Oddie's suggestion has much chance of becoming Britain's 'selection' though as it does not seem to feature in the final ten.

Those that have been included are:

  • robin

  • kingfisher

  • barn owl

  • blue tit

  • wren

  • blackbird

  • puffin

  • mute swan

  • red kite

  • hen harrier