Book

The History of British Birds

Derek Yalden and Umberto Albarella

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780199217519
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191712296 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199217519.001.0001

Series: Oxford Ornithology Series

The History of British Birds

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Birds, in contrast to mammals, are thought to have fragile bones, which are difficult to identify when found, so have no useful archaeological record. This book is based on an accumulation of over 9,000 records of species identified from sites in the British Isles, which indicates that the contrary is true. The difficulties of identification are discussed, but 9,000 records is a substantial body of evidence, which is reviewed. The book summarizes the archaeological record of birds in the British Isles, and integrates this factual basis into an overview of the history of the bird fauna in these islands. It tells us much about what native birds we should have, which ones we have lost, and therefore which ones would be worth discussing for reintroduction. Recent discussions suppose that eagle owls are not native, but archaeological evidence suggests they were. White-tailed eagles were widespread up to Saxon times at least, and cranes (not the same as herons) were widespread through to mediaeval times. When did our most common bird arrive? Where from? Which species is it, anyway? And how does the balance of wild, introduced and domestic birds compare with the similar balance of mammals, or with the balance 7,000 years ago, before farming altered the landscape?

Keywords: British Isles; archaeology; history; faunal balance; eagle owls; white-tailed eagles; cranes

Book.  272 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences

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Table of Contents

Introduction in The History of British Birds

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The bird in the hand… in The History of British Birds

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Coming in from the cold in The History of British Birds

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Farmland and fenland in The History of British Birds

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Veni, Vidi, Vici in The History of British Birds

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Monks, monarchs, and mysteries in The History of British Birds

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From Elizabeth to Victoria in The History of British Birds

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Now and hereafter in The History of British Birds

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