he King Eider Somateria spectabilis is a widespread breeder across most of the High Arctic coastline and islands of the Holarctic, but is largely absent from Iceland, southern Greenland and arctic Scandinavia. The population from western Siberia and adjacent islands winters from the White Sea to arctic Norway, occasionally to the northern Baltic, South of this area, King Eiders are rare (Madge & Burn 1988). Within Britain and Ireland, the King Eider is a rare but regular visitor. The majority of records have been in the Shetland, Highland and Grampian regions, though individuals have been seen recently as far south as Cornwall. In almost every case, King Eiders have associated with flocks of Common Eiders S, mollissima and remained with these flocks over the years. For the purposes of mis paper, it is necessary, merefore, to look at the distribution of Common Eider populations around the coast. This paper attempts to reassess the occurrences and numbers of King Eiders in Britain and Ireland during 1958-90, based on the distribution of Common Eider populations. We consider that the minimum number of different individuals estimated here is a more realistic total than mat of 153 published in ‘Rare Birds in Great Britain in 1990’ (Brit. Birds 84: 463).Common Eider populations In Britain and Ireland, Common Eiders are at the southern edge of their European range and are relatively sedentary (Cramp & Simmons 1977; Owen et al 1986), In summer, they are distributed around die coast mainly north of a line from Northumberland
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British Birds – how it works
BB 2000 Ltd, the company that owns and publishes British Birds, is run by a board of directors, all of whom are volunteers. The company employs two full time staff – Roger Riddington is the journal’s editor while Hazel Jenner manages subscriptions and administration – and three part-time design/editorial staff.
The company is wholly owned by The British Birds Charitable Trust (BBCT, registered charity no. 1089422). Neither the company directors nor the trustees are paid for their services, providing their time and enthusiasm because they passionately believe in the value of BB. The Company is managed with a view to making a small profit which can be donated to the Trust to help fund its charitable work.
Over the past six years, this, combined with donations from other sources, has enabled the Trust to give almost £40,000 support to a variety of conservation and educational projects ranging from rat eradication on seabird islands to the study of cuckoo migration, as well as assisting young birders develop their interest.
A full list of projects is given here. The Trust is seeking to expand its charitable endeavours and would welcome donations from like-minded organisations and individuals.