The product of annual surveys since 1952, this book documents remarkable changes in the distribution of many birds through the use of clear colour maps, species accounts and a variety of illustrations.

Birds of the Heart of England

Edited by Trevor Easterbook on behalf of the Banbury Ornithological Society

Liverpool University Press, 2013

Drawing upon a remarkable sixty years of surveys, this fascinating and richly illustrated book provides an in-depth picture of birdlife in the very heart of the United Kingdom, the twelve 10km squares surrounding Banbury and including parts of Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire, . 

The Banbury Ornithological Society (BOS) area does not contain any large waterbodies or significantly important habitats but is a typical lowland agricultural area. Thus, most of the information collected relates to the commoner farmland and woodland species, with rather few records of scarce migrants and rarities. The Society initiated a number of surveys, the techniques of which are described in the book.

Drawing upon the results of annual surveys since 1952, Birds of the Heart of England creates a snapshot of remarkable changes in the distribution of many birds through the use of clear colour maps, species accounts and a variety of illustrations. It is a must for anyone interested in bird watching within the Banbury area but its sheer depth of data will make it an important volume for ornithological groups across the UK.

The book contains introductory chapters explaining the survey methods, the BOS and describes the landscape of the area and some of the changes which have occurred in the past 60 years. The succinct species list, with excellent use of multi-coloured charts and tables illustrates population changes and monthly distribution of records, and 1-km distribution maps – often comparing different time periods showing some birds that have declined and others that have increased their areas.

A brief conclusion sets out the importance of continuing to collect such data, not least to provide information to inform planning decisions on both a small and a large scale, including the high-speed rail line HS2, which will cut through the area. This is one of a series of excellent county publications produced recently by the non-profitmaking Liverpool University Press and is highly recommended for anyone interested in the systematic monitoring of birds in their home area. 

Birds of the Heart of England

Liverpool University Press, 2013

Hbk, 202pp many colour photographs, maps and tables

ISBN 978-1-84631-885-6 Subbuteo code M21845

£25.00 from bookshops or from the NHBS online shop: Birds of the Heart of England

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