i newspaper, August 25, 2017

(50 words) I haven’t underlined the problem words in this piece as there are so many.

‘Finger-sized’ is an odd way to describe a bird. In Britain we use miles, not kilometres, though you can put the metric equivalent if you want. I wouldn’t bother. You need to spell out the daily rate of flight to make the achievement meaningful, and so that the reader does not have to do mental arithmetic. ‘Researcher say’ is careless, and in any case does it matter who said it? ‘Southern Spain’ appears twice, and you have ‘Sweden’ and ‘Swedish island’. Does this island have a name? Is it near a town whose name we might recognise? I don’t think the weight loss is significant enough to mention, and you certainly should not have ‘weighing’ and ‘weight’ in the same sentence. ‘Weighing in at’ is a cliche. The word ‘before’ is unnecessary. We normally say ‘on’ an island, not ‘in’. The heading should not just be a short version of the first sentence.

This is how I would do it:

Miniature bird’s
marathon flight

A bird only a third the size of a sparrow has completed a migration of about 1,500 miles in ten days – a rate of 150 miles a day. The willow warbler was ringed in May in Murcia, south-east Spain, and recovered on the Swedish island of Nidingen, off Gothenburg. (49 words)


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