That my first issue as editor contains a paper on Turtle Doves in Britain may prove to be a worthy point of reflection when I eventually come to say my goodbyes. Will the next decades see the extinction of the Turtle Dove as a breeding species in Britain, or will conservation measures be enough to turn its fortunes around? As Jenny Dunn’s paper shows, the pressures that the species faces are not only limited to hunting on migration. A decrease in breeding success linked to a change in food availability and an increasing incidence of mortality from trichomonosis puts this once-familiar species in the firing line from all sides.
Jenny’s paper comes from years of professional research – but sometimes careful observation and listening is all that’s required for a great study. In this issue, Moss Taylor and Andrew Clarke present the results of a study by the North East Norfolk Bird Club on the song periods of common breeding birds. Bird song has long been accessible to the amateur ornithologist, and studies of song periods have appeared in BB from the very first volume (Brit. Birds 1: 367–372). Even further back, Gilbert White was recording the song period of birds around Selbourne in the 1700s. Comparison between the song periods in Norfolk in 2018–19 and these historical records makes for a fascinating and valuable study.
Our third main paper this month similarly shows the value of historical records: Rostherne Mere has an ornithological presence stretching back 130 years. In the latest in our ‘Great bird reserves’ series, Steve Barber et al. detail why this small waterbody on the outskirts of Manchester has proven to be such an important and interesting place.
188 BB eye: Petrels by night
192 News and comment Adrian Pitches
196 Turtle Doves, trial plots and Trichomonas: understanding and conserving the UK’s rarest dove Jenny Dunn
210 Song periods of selected breeding birds in northeast Norfolk Moss Taylor and Andrew Clarke
221 Great bird reserves: Rostherne Mere NNR Steve Barber, Bill Bellamy and Tom Wall
242 Recent reports