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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Peregrine, 9 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: Peregrine Falcon (Hardcover)
For me, the Peregrine Falcon is one of a small group of special birds that I vividly remember seeing for the first time, and I believe it holds a similar significance for most birders around the world. This is a truly global species, being on the checklists of more than 200 countries and thankfully making a comeback from decline in many of them.

This is the third in a series of well-illustrated short monographs that aim to give the reader an overview of the subject without getting bogged down in the detail, and previous subjects have been the Kingfisher and Barn Owl. Patrick Stirling-Aird has studied birds of prey in Scotland for over 25 years, and is Secretary of the Scottish Raptor Study Group.

The first chapter deals somewhat unnecessarily with the Falconiformes as a group and the genus Falco in particular. Thankfully much of this information does relate quite well to Peregrine Falcons but I'd suggest the publisher rethinks the need for this in future volumes.

The author recognises 19 races of the species, choosing to lump Barbary Falcon, although almost everyone (except HBW) splits it as a full species. There are eight chapters describing aspects of the Peregrine's life. Distribution is described in some detail for Europe and North America, where the species has increased greatly since the 1970s. Indeed Peregrines now have "Green" status in the UK and are nesting in very public places while in the USA a reintroduction programme has had impressive results.

The two longest chapters cover feeding and the breeding cycle. Food items from across the species' range are discussed and compared - with 137 different bird species having been taken in Britain. These actually include other Peregrines in a small number of cases! Most aspects of this well-studied bird's life are covered - but this is not designed to be an in-depth assessment, and so there is little detail. The author draws on his own wealth of experience with Peregrines in the Scottish highlands but I would have been interested to read a bit more about urban nesting which really is where the population increases are now occurring.

In particular this book has a very good selection of 80 high quality images which are used to great effect and (as with the previous titles in this series) make it very good value for money and an enjoyable read.

Keith Betton
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 Nov 2012 14:11:30 GMT
H. A. Weedon says:
Dealing with the falconiformes in the first chapter is exceedingly important. If this chapter were to be left out in future editions, many people just would not buy the book. I certainly wouldn't. Knowing about the peregrine's relations sets this wonderful bird in contect. Maybe 'birders' are not bother about such things, but ornithologists, even amateur ones, certainly are.
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