Bird Census Techniques. By Colin J. Bibby, Neil D. Burgess & David Hill. Academic Press, London, 1992. 257 pages; numerous figs. ISBN 0-12-095830-9. £19.50. This book aims to be a practical manual for those engaged in collecting data on bird distribution, bird abundance and habitat distribution. It is not a monographic overview of the whole literature on the subject, nor a complete list of methods in use. Instead, it concentrates on questions such as: Why count birds?; What are the main census methods?; Do the methods meet our expectations?; and What are the main weaknesses of the collected data? The authors describe, evaluate and recommend the following main types of methods applied: territory-mapping, line-transects, point-counts, catching and marking, counting individual species, counting colonial/flocking birds, atlassing, and describing and measuring bird habitats. The text includes few quotations of original sources, but instead concentrates on giving recommendations of what should or should not be done. Boxed figures and examples of proper or wrong applications are especially helpful. This is undoubtedly a very useful, fundamental guide. Yet, I cannot restrain myself from expressing not only my high esteem for the product, but also some mild disappointment. For years we "have awaited a manual on how to perform censuses of birds. The book reviewed is certainly a big step in that direction, yet it is not exactly what we have needed. My criticism comes from the following features of the book: too much bias towards an Anglo-Saxon view of the literature, too much insistence on collection of relative (rather than absolute) data, and a too narrow (too-practical) view of the purposes of counting birds. 

Volume: 
Issue 10
Start Page: 
543
Authors: 
Tomia_ojc, L
Display Image: 

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