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Academic & Professional Books  Ornithology  Birds: General

A History of Cornish Ornithology The Path to Conservation

By: Colin Rees(Author)
445 pages, 100 colour & b/w photos and b/w illustrations
Publisher: Tor Mark Press
A History of Cornish Ornithology
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Average customer review
  • A History of Cornish Ornithology ISBN: 9781527202931 Paperback Mar 2017 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 48 hours
    £18.99
    #236837
Price: £18.99
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About this book

The striking geographical position of Cornwall provides unique circumstances to observe birds. Residential and seasonal populations offer constant surprises, but as a theatre of complex migratory movements, it is the regular appearance of Atlantic and eastern vagrants that few other counties in Britain can match.

Throughout history, the endeavours of Cornish bird watchers and ornithologists have sought to capture the 'genius of the place'. Thus, A History of Cornish Ornithology begins with an overview of Cornwall's distinctive landscape and other salient features. It then progresses through pre-historic times, highlights developments in the mediaeval period, and celebrates the accelerated interest in ornithology in subsequent centuries. The great Cornish naturalists Moyle, Carew, Borlase, Couch, Rodd and Ryves take centre stage, and A History of Cornish Ornithology explores their influence on Cornishmen as well as influences on them from the rest of Britain.

The evolving roles played by the Cornwall Bird Watching Preservation Society and The Cornwall Wildlife Trust are described and the text enlivened with reports of rarities and common species, accounts of influential personalities (birds and people), and attempts to stem the erosion of birdlife, including accounts of establishing reserves. Along the way, the chapters examine the dramatically changing status of bird populations and their habitats and the valiant efforts to assure wildlife protection in the face of industrialisation and agricultural practices and, more recently, climate change. The last chapters review the efforts of our own nascent century and speculate about the future of ornithology in Cornwall and the rest of the country.

Customer Reviews (1)

  • Inspiring effort
    By Keith 19 Jul 2019 Written for Paperback
    Few counties have a book to catalogue their ornithological history, and in creating this work the author has completed a task first started by the late Roger Penhallurick – to which it is dedicated. Although based in the USA, Colin Rees took on the huge challenge of putting into one place the history of Cornwall’s birds – from the writings of Richard Carew and others from the 1600s to the online reports of today. In many ways, this book is also a catalogue of the early history of British ornithology, and it charts the major events that led to the growth of recording of natural history. This includes the publication of early bird books, the development of systematic recording and ringing, advances in conservation and the formation of organisations such as the Cornwall Bird Watching and Preservation Society in 1931. Apart from the details of people and places in Cornwall, there are also many reflections on the changes that have affected bird populations both locally and nationally. The final chapter looks at the possible future for our birds – and draws on personal experiences of the author and others both in the UK and USA. There are illustrations throughout, some of which would have benefitted from enlargement.

    Given that there are a lot of people and places mentioned, an index to those would have been of value. A bibliography of national and local works is given, although the latter excludes some Cornish works noted by David Ballance for his Birds in Counties bibliography (2000).

    In a book such as this, the amount of detail is immense. However, a more detailed proofing process would hopefully have detected some errors – such as spelling mistakes for Derek Ratcliffe and Nick Baker (who appear as Radcliffe and Barker), Allan Octavian Hume (who appears as Allen), and years for the birth and death of B. H. Ryves which change between two pages.

    Few counties have tried to create an account of their ornithological history that reaches back much before the early 1900s. This book may inspire others to dig a little deeper in future.

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By: Colin Rees(Author)
445 pages, 100 colour & b/w photos and b/w illustrations
Publisher: Tor Mark Press
Media reviews

"[...] In a book such as this the amount of detail is immense. However, a more detailed proofing process would hopefully have detected some errors [...] Few counties have tried to create an account of their ornithological history that reaches back much before the early 1900s. This book may inspire others to dig a little deeper in future."
– Keith Betton, British Birds, Volume 110, November 2017

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