The Finnish Bird Ringing Atlas Volume 1 / Suomen Rengastusatlas 1

Distribution Atlas

Series: The Finnish Bird Ringing Atlas / Suomen Rengastusatlas Volume: 1

By: Pertti Saurola(Author), Jari Valkama(Author), William Velmala(Author)

549 pages, colour & b/w photos, colour illustrations, b/w line drawings, colour maps, colour distribution maps, tables

Finnish Museum of Natural History

Hardback | Jan 2013 | #205418 | ISBN-13: 9789521085727
Availability: In stock
NHBS Price: £42.99 $67/€55 approx

Language: Finnish with extensive summaries in English, figure captions and tables bilingual in English and Finnish

In Finland, ringing of birds was initiated 100 years ago, in 1913. Since then, almost 10.4 million birds have been ringed with more than 1.1 million later encounters. The data hosted by the Finnish Ringing Centre have been used for conservation and research purposes. Among other things, ringing provides information on migration routes, wintering areas, causes of death and site fidelity of birds.

The aim of The Finnish Bird Ringing Atlas Volume 1 is to thank and motivate voluntary ringers, give research ideas for scientists and provide authorities and members of the public with information of movements of birds. This first of the two volumes gives an introduction to the history of ringing, illustrates temporal changes in numbers of birds ringed and encountered and also briefly describes other marking techniques. Species-specific part of The Finnish Bird Ringing Atlas Volume 1 includes the orders from Anseriformes to Charadriiformes (waterfowl, grouse, divers, grebes, herons, birds of prey, crakes, waders and skuas). The second volume includes the rest of species accounts and tells us, among other things, about scientific research conducted on the Finnish ringing data and about ringing at bird observatories.

"From the arrival of the first Swallow in spring to impressive flocks of waders and waterfowl that come each year to the estuaries of Europe, bird movements have long fascinated us. Marking individual birds is the only way to fully understand these movements (and much else besides). The first birds were ringed, scientifically, in 1899 in Denmark, with the first atlas of such movements across Europe published as long ago as 1931. In the face of this one may legitimately ask ‘do we need more ringing?’ This beautifully produced volume summarising movements of birds ringed or recovered in Finland provides a convincing demonstration of the value of ringing in this regard.

This is the first of two volumes, presenting not only the results of ringing of non-passerine birds, but also a history of ringing, both in Finland and throughout Europe. This history, presented attractively in both Finnish and English, is well worth reading as the lead author (Pertti Saurola) was (and still is) one of the key advocates of cooperation of ringing across Europe. Most people will, however, read the book, for the species accounts. Each species account presents maps of birds ringed and recovered, the latter using a neat set of symbols to differentiate recoveries in different seasons, together with some helpful charts and graphs indicating, for instance, recovery circumstance and timing of migration; all legends are given in both Finnish and English. Finally there are some summary tables indicating numbers ringed and recovered and the oldest and longest recoveries. The texts are in Finnish (obviously!), but each concludes with a comprehensive English summary which refers to the figures directly meaning that one is hardly hampered, by not knowing Finnish.

The authors are to be congratulated on the design of the book, which is a model of clarity in presenting a huge amount of information in a relatively limited space. I could pick out some of the many stories that this book reveals, but much better for you to explore this fascinating book for yourself, but be warned, you may, like me, find yourself immersed for far longer than you intended to be…"

- Rob Robinson, www.bto.org

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"Although geolocators are now used in large numbers and satellite transmitters are getting smaller every year, bird ringing is still one of the main tools of bird research. One of the main aims of bird ringing has been, and indeed still is, the migration of birds; and in the last decade or so there has been a marked increase in the publication of books dealing with analyses of bird migration through ringing recoveries on a national level. The monumental Migration Atlas for Britain & Ireland in 2002 (Wernham et al.) was followed by other national atlases from Sweden (2001/2008), Norway (2003/2006), Denmark (2006), the Czech Republic and Slovakia (2008), Italy (2008) and Hungary (2009). Now the first volume of the Finnish Bird Ringing Atlas has been published.

Since rather few people outside Finland speak Finnish, the authors have produced an almost bilingual introduction as well as English summaries for every species account, and English subtitles for all figures and tables. The introductory chapters contain information about bird ringing in general and in Finland as well as a detailed description of the methods used for analyses of the recoveries. I was surprised that only birds ringed in Finland were included and not those ringed abroad and refound in Finland. I especially liked the chapter dealing with legendary Finnish ringers – did you know that that there has been a ‘ringer of the year award’ since 1971? All the chapters are beautifully illustrated with well-chosen photographs, the layout is just perfect and the text is an easy but informative read.

Bird ringing is used in many aspects of ornithology. To do a complete analysis of the ringing recoveries of any country could fill many books. Therefore, any migration atlas unfortunately needs to concentrate on certain subjects. The species accounts of this first volume contain the non-passerines from swans to skuas. They are of varying length and usually contain – when the number of recoveries allows – graphs of ringing totals per year, cause of death, timing of migration, migration direction and age distribution of recoveries. In addition, maps show ringing sites and locations of recoveries according to finding circumstances and/or age. The better the data, the more maps and graphs are presented; for example in the Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos account there are seven graphs and 17 maps! All of them are well designed and the message is clearly visible. Each species also has a table with data on ringing totals and number of recoveries, oldest individual, longest distance covered and fastest migration speed. The summary includes a description of the status in Finland as well as an analysis of the graphs and maps presented.

This is a superb migration atlas – actually the best I’ve ever seen! Although I would rather like to see a detailed analysis on a European, or preferably Palearctic, level, I can’t wait to receive the second volume!"

- Jochen Dierschke, 19-07-2013, www.britishbirds.co.uk

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