John Gerson

China’s wild animal markets are by no means unique

‘We might suppose that Wuhan’s animal markets are part of a uniquely Chinese tradition, leading up to the current plague. But the facts do not allow for such clarity’

In Putin’s Russia, rare birds are just a money-making commodity

‘The Russian’s gift to the monarch was an arctic bird that, like Putin, had no natural place in the desert: a white Gyrfalcon, a powerful raptor that can be trained by its master to kill on command’

Flights of fancy

Birds’ names tell tall stories

Mao’s disastrous war—on sparrows

"Speaking truth to power might not always prove beneficial to birds"

Charlie’s angels

The Soong sisters lives were sewn into the dramatic tapestry of China’s modern history, but in this saga there is nobody with whom to sympathise or identify

Underrated: Abroad

The ravenous longing for the infinite possibilities of “otherwhere”

The king of cakes

"Yuletide revels were designed to see you through the dark days — and how dark they seem today"