Coming in from the cold

D. W. Yalden and U. Albarella

in The History of British Birds

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780199217519
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191712296 | DOI:
 Coming in from the cold

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This chapter covers the period from about 15,000 years ago, as the ice sheets of the Last Glaciation retreated, through the Late Glacial and Younger Dryas periods and the post-glacial warming at about 11,000 years ago, into the forested Mesolithic period. There is a good Late Glacial record of bird bones from cave sites in the Mendips, Gower Peninsula, and at Creswell Crags: northern species such as Ptarmigan and Red Grouse were then common even in southern Britain, but such interesting species as Great and Little Bustard were also present. In the postglacial period, as tree cover increased, so did species of woodlands (e.g., eagle owl) and wetlands (e.g., crane at Star Carr). Some open ground remained, as evidenced by species like grey partridge, but the Mesolithic record, except in coastal sites (like Oronsay), is patchy. A fuller consideration of the likely bird fauna (especially passerines) requires extrapolation from what we know of habitats available, and the likely bird fauna of those habitats.

Keywords: Creswell Crags; Mendip caves; Star Carr; Oronsay; great bustard; eagle owl; crane

Chapter.  11111 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences

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