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The History of British Birds (Oxford Ornithology) Paperback – 5 Nov 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 270 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (5 Nov 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199581169
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199581160
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 1.3 x 16.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 807,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

This volume looks set to become the best modern reference for anyone wishing to know about the rich history of the British avifauna...It is both readable and engaging. (Birdwatch)

This book is well furnished with tables and distribution maps...i did learn much from it. (Scottish Birds)

Far and away the most comprehensive set of records to date. A fascinating book. (British Trust for Ornithology News)

The book is well produced and...should form part of any serious ornithologist's library. (British Ornithologists' Union)

...this volume looks set to become the best modern reference for anyone wishing to know about the rich history of the British avifauna...it is both readable and engaging (Birdwatch Magazine)

About the Author

Derek Yalden retired from Manchester University after 40 years of teaching vertebrate zoology in September 2005. He 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 Sand pipers 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 the 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.

Umberto Albarella is based in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sheffield. He specialises in the study of animal bones (zooarchaeology), but his research is wide-ranging and strongly oriented towards the integration of different aspects of archaeology.

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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Keith Betton on 6 Aug 2009
Format: Hardcover
The authors' main aim in writing this book was to draw attention to the extensive archaeological information about bird distribution. To achieve this they obtained external funding to set up a team to create a database of over 9000 records of birds that have been identified from archaeological sites. As a result they have been able to review our knowledge of avifaunal history over the last 15,000 years. Although the focus is on the British Isles, a real attempt has been made to set our avifauna in its wider historical and European context.

Most bird species can be tentatively identified by their larger bones. Although they appeared in other parts of Europe in the late Jurassic Period (about 145 million years ago), in the British Isles evidence of birds can not be found before the Eocene period (55-65 million years ago). However after this there are no more specimens until the Pleistocene Period (from about two million years ago). Using records from around the country the authors present a number of distribution maps for a selection of species. For example, in the Mesolithic Period (7000-10,000 years ago) there were Ptarmigan and Hazel Hen in Avon and South Devon. As time marches on into the Neolithic Period there is more evidence available, and a wider range of species can be identified. The authors try to describe the habitats that would have been found in Britain at that time. In the fens there were many species that we still see today, but I had not expected Dalmatian Pelican to have been among them.

Another aspect of this book's scope is the use of place names to indicate the historical significance of birds. Again a surprising range of species is revealed.
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