450 pages, b/w photos, maps
Birds in European Cities is the first book to describe any aspect of the natural history of man-made habitats across Europe or any other continent. The urban habitats present in the cities have arisen by a combination of their geographical and climatic position and their development over the last 1,000 years.
Each chapter describes the historical development of the city, the birdlife that has been recorded in it from the beginning of the 20th Century, the birds found in each of the major habitats; and a section on where to watch birds. The chapters also consider the effects of planning and architectural and landscape design on birds. The implications of building restoration and landscape and management on the birdlife of the cities are also described.
Many interesting facts emerge. For example, there is only one truly urban bird - the Feral Pigeon, which has evolved from the adaptation of and considerable genetic changes in the Rock Dove to become the only bird whose occurrence is restricted to urban areas. The overall species diversity and biomass of birds in the urban environment is higher than in the rural environment. In contrast, the abundance and diversity of species within a particular habitat is significantly lower in cities than in the countryside.
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