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"The State of the Nations' Birds", by Chris Mead

28th May 2007

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The State of the Nations' Birds charts the fortunes of the British and Irish breeding birds over the 20th century and predicts their prospects for the next decade. Using detailed information from many specialist sources Chris Mead analyses the varied fortunes of almost 250 species in an understandable fashion. Every breeding bird is included from the commonest (Wren with an estimated 9,900,000 pairs) to species that have bred very rarely (for example, the elegant Black-winged Stilt and the colourful Bluethroat). This is the first time such an accessible and comprehensive summary has been brought together in one volume.

The core of the book is a species by species account summarizing the history of each breeding species and its current status. Population ranges and levels, with trends, are given and our breeding birds are put into a European context too. The likelihood of seeing each species during the summer is also calculated as well as the prognosis for the birds for the next decade. There are also chapters on the main habitats and our climate - how they have developed and may change and a detailed description of the investigations on which the book is based.

As a special service to Bird On! readers, the author and publisher have granted permission for us to display the entire text of each individual species description (without their illustrations, and without the extensive chapters on habitats and other aspects of our birds' lives). You may start your search for information with the Search Engine or you may view the entire Table of Contents.

Chris Mead, who died on 16th January 2003, had spent a lifetime working for the British Trust for Ornithology whose volunteers did much of the data gathering on which the book is based. However, his net is spread much wider using information from the Rare Breeding Birds Panel, the RSPB and national organizations, both voluntary and governmental, throughout Britain and Ireland. Chris was uniquely placed to review and summarise the situation of our breeding birds in this easily understood, but scientifically accurate, volume.

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