The product of annual surveys since 1952, this new 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 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 proposed high-speed rail line HS2, which may 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. With Christmas on the horizon, this is an ideal stocking filler.


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


Construction work on HS2 Phase One is due to commence in 2018, with completion scheduled for 2026. HS2 crosses the BOS area from Brackley to Southam via Chipping Warden. Read more ...

Deer, Woodlands and Birds - should we be in a flap?  -   Jamie Cordery

Jamie Cordery is South East Deer Liaison Officer for The Deer Initiative, a broad partnership of statutory, voluntary and private interests dedicated to ensuring the delivery of a sustainable and well-managed wild deer population in England and Wales.

The Long Day Count is carried out by teams of observers in each of the twelve 10km squares recording the number of bird species seen during a maximum of 12 daylight hours on the second Sunday in May each year.   Read more ...

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