The History of British Birds reviews our knowledge of avifaunal history over the last 15,000 years, setting it in its wider historical and European context. The authors, one an ornithologist the other an archaeologist, integrate a wealth of archaeological data to illuminate and enliven the story, indicating the extent to which climatic, agricultural, and social changes have affected the avifauna. They discuss its present balance, as well as predicting possible future changes. It is a popular misconception that bird bones are rarely preserved (compared with mammals), and cannot be reliably identified when they are found. The book explores both these contentions, armed with a database of 9,000 records of birds that have been identified on archaeological sites. Most are in England, but sites elsewhere in Great Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Isles are included. Britain's most numerous bird is also the most widespread in the archaeological record, but some of the more charismatic species also have a rich historical pedigree. For example, we can say quite a lot about the history of the Crane, Red Kite, White-tailed Eagle and Great Auk.
The history of many introduced domestic species can also be illuminated. Even so, there remain uncertainties, posed by difficulties of dating or identification, the vagaries of the archaeological record or the ecological specialities of the birds themselves. These issues are highlighted, thus posing research questions for others to answer. And the commonest British bird, then and now? Buy the book and read on...
Buy The History of British Birds book by Derek Yalden from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(253mm x 195mm x 18mm)
Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Author Biography - Derek Yalden
Derek Yalden retired from Manchester University after 40 years of teaching vertebrate zoology in September 2005. His is the author/co-author of over 200 scientific publications. He has worked on birds and mammals in the Peak District, including long-term population studies of Common Sandpipers and Golden Plovers, and on the mammals of Ethiopia, with two species - Leptopelis yaldeni (tree-frog) and Desmomys yaldeni (rat) - named in his honour. His interest in history of the British fauna dates back to undergraduate lectures on Pleistocene mammals, summarised in reviews, papers and The History of British Mammals (1999). Derek is currently the President of the Mammal Society, and was Editor of their publication 'Mammal Review' for 22 years.