By N . F . TICEHURST. (Cleaver-Hume, London, 1957). 131 p a g e s ; 32 plates in blackand-white and two-colour line. 35s. T H E LITTLE we know of the past history of birds in Britain is derived from archaelogical research during" prehistoric excavations, from mediaeval household accounts in which birds used for food are mentioned, from occasional references in early literature, many of which refer to falconry, and, in the 17th and 18th centuries, from the payments for " v e r m i n " by churchwardens and petty constables. There is, however, one bird, the Mute Swan, with a long and detailed history, and to the study of this D r . Ticehurst has devoted 30 years of intensive research. To begin with, he examines and successfully disproves the longaccepted belief that the Mute Swan is not an English indigenous bird. T h a t all our swans are derived from introduced birds must indeed have been held in doubt for some time by anyone who has considered their abundance as a wild species in southern Sweden and other parts of Europe. As D r . Ticehurst points out, the Grey L a g Goose--whose bones, with those of the Mute Swan, have been found in peat deposits in East Anglia--bred in England until the 18th century and has now been absorbed in our farmyard stock; this provides an obviously parallel case. The fact that the Mute Swan occupied a unique position as a
Volume: 
Issue 3

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