Bedfordshire Bird Atlas. By B. D. Harding. Bedfordshire Natural History Society, Luton, 1979. 144 pages; over 120 maps; 113 line-drawings by Ray Turley. £4.70.
When the BTO and the Irish Wildbird Conservancy launched their atlas survey in 1968, the Bedfordshire NHS decided to carry out its own breeding bird survey on a 2 km x 2 km (tetrad) basis. This attractively produced book is the result; it fills a gap in our knowledge of the avifauna of the South Midlands, for, although one of our smallest counties, no comprehensive account of Bedfordshire's birds has been published for over 70 years. The survey was organised initially by J. N. Dymond, followed by P. F. Bonham and then by B. D. Harding; this book depicts the 15,510 records of 113 species reported during 1968-77. In a similar manner to other breeding bird atlases, a page is devoted to each species, with a brief text interpreting the accompanying map, the historical background and, for some species, counts of the actual numbers breeding; in addition, for each species there is a small map showing the national distribution and an attractive line-drawing by Ray Turley. There is an excellent chapter on the effects on bird distribution of various aspects of the county's geology, woodlands, wetlands, mineral workings and farmland, with a good series of maps depicting the geology, wetlands and chalklands, woods and railways, mineral workings and built-up areas, reproduced from John Dony's Bedfordshire Plant Atlas (1976), to which this is a companion work. The map of avifauna richness shows that the number of'species recorded for a tetrad varied from 22 to 91, with an average of'47.8: