The Times, March 28, 2018

Animals should always be referred to as ‘it’ unless there is a good reason to specify gender, for example a female protecting her young. In this case it is particularly silly to call the bird ‘he’ because male and female herons have identical plumage, so the casual observer could not possibly know if it was a male. The copy calls the heron ‘it’, so I suspect the caption was written by a different person – often a recipe for disaster. If caption and story are handled separately they must be cross-checked.

I have grave reservations about the story in any case – if you have ever seen a heron you will know it is the most timid of birds, unlikely to stand there while someone kills it. And how did he kill it? How did he get the duckling out? While we are at it, when did it happen? Where did it happen (North Wales is a big place)? Far too many unanswered questions for my liking.

As for the intro, the less said about that the better.




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