Editorial: Increase And Decrease In Summer Residents

Published on 01 March 1913 in Editorials

FOR a considerable time past there has been a general impression that some of our summer migrants have been decreasing in numbers, and that in some districts certain species which were common a few years ago are becoming less common every year. I t will be remembered t h a t in our issue for August, 1912 (supra, p. 87) it was proposed to hold an inquiry into this question with a view to gaining some exact knowledge from a wide area regarding these reported fluctuations–knowledge which is absolutely necessary before causes for such fluctuations can be ascertained. A schedule was sent out containing the names of twelve selected species and observers were asked to state the result of their observations on three points : 1. Was there an increase in 1912 over 1911 ? 2. Was there a decrease in 1912 from 1911 ? 3. Were numbers in 1912 above or below the average ? They were further asked to state whether the conclusion at which they arrived was based on the actual number of birds counted in a definite area, or whether it was the result of a general impression. One hundred and sixteen observers in England and Wales responded to the invitation, but it should be noted that of these only twelve based their replies on the number of birds actually counted, thirty-two on their general impression, while in the rest of the replies received this query was ignored, from which it is clear that the answers

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