The Birds of Oxfordshire. Edited by J. W. Brucker, A. G. Gosler & A. R. Heryet. The Nature Conservation Bureau, Newbury, 1992. 288 pages; 8 colour plates; 150 line-drawings; 92 maps; 57 histograms. £27.95.The species accounts occupy one-third of this county avifauna, and a further 10% is devoted to the results of the 'Atlas of breeding birds in Oxfordshire' (by tetrads) during 1985-88. The other major chapters are 'An introduction to the ornithology of Oxfordshire', 'Bird habitats in Oxfordshire', 'The climate of Oxfordshire' and 'A future for birds in Oxfordshire'. Those are the dry bones, but in this book the traditional framework is fleshed out voluptuously. This is a large book (21.7 cm X 29.7 cm), with easy-to-read print, excellent, spacious design, attractive line-drawings (by Martin Elliott, Andrew Forkner and Ian Lewington) and an abundance of small tables, histograms and maps. The text is not only full of interesting information, but is also well written and, therefore, very readable as well. Collectors of county bird books will, of course, want to own this one, but it will also be of interest to all birdwatchers living not only in Oxfordshire itself, but also in neighbouring counties, since trends in one are likely to be reflected in others. Nightjars Caprimulgus europaeus have not been proved to breed since the mid 1960s, and Redstarts Phoenicurus phoenicurus, which formerly bred in pollarded willows along streams and rivers and in old trees, dry-stone walls and nest-boxes in woods and parks, have steadily withdrawn.

Volume: 
Issue 10
Start Page: 
572
Authors: 
Spencer, R
Display Image: 

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