The Garden Bird Book. Edited by David Glue. Macmillan, London, in association with the British Trust for Ornithology. 1982. 208 pages; 8 colour plates, numerous black-and-white photographs, and two-colour line drawings. £7.95.
The introduction to this excellent new book from the BTO points out that gardens form some of the richest bird habitat in Britain, and that the estimated total area of gardens is roughly twice that of National Nature Reserves. The British passion for gardening, stocking even the tiniest suburban plot with trees, shrubs, flowers and vegetables from all over the world, has undoubtedly been of immense benefit to birds. The fact that for a hundred years or more birds have not just been tolerated in gardens, with some exceptions, but positively encouraged, provides a direct link between gardening and the widespread present-day interest in birds and their protection. Nowadays, the bird societies cash in on this interest and sell bird tables, feeders, and books on bird gardening. This book has one enormous advantage over others on the same subject: it is solidly based on the results of over ten years of the BTO's Garden Bird Feeding Survey. This national study has revealed not only what species regularly visit gardens, but at what times of year, and the foods they prefer, both natural and artificial. To this have been added data from ringing studies. For example, although only a dozen Blue Tits may be seen at a bird table at any one time, the total number feeding there during the course of winter may exceed 1,000.