A Vulture Landscape is more than just a book about vultures, in the same way that these majestic flyers are more than just birds. Vultures are a crucial part of many of the world's ecosystems, and without these specialist environmental cleansers the ecosystems wouldn't work properly. A calendar year in the lives of these gargantuan raptors is explored as they live, breed, feed and fly with effortless ease across the skies of the vulture landscape that is Extremadura in central Spain.
There are four species of vulture in Europe, and a fifth that is becoming more of a regular visitor as its own global population plummets. The serious conservation issues faced on a day-to-day basis by these species, and their relatives spread across the globe, are explored, issues that in many cases threaten their very survival. However, A Vulture Landscape is a celebration of the vulture and the landscape in which it reigns.
Using the latest science, his keen eye and his passion for the birds themselves, the author takes the reader on a journey, introducing readers to the vultures, their lives and their landscape. Along the way, much of the other wonderful wildlife of the vulture landscape, from exotic Bee-eaters and bewitching Montagu's Harriers to rutting Red Stags as well as some very excitable cattle, are included. Ian explains how watching vultures is not only addictive, but that it can often lead to vulture gazing.
With his fine descriptions, readers can enter the world of the vulture, get to know these brilliant birds and learn how they control diseases that threaten us, why some species have bald necks, as well as how they have mastered the art of flying without expending any energy.
Ian Parsons has spent several years living permanently in Extremadura and now splits his time between his native county of Devon and his beloved vulture landscape, where he leads bird tours introducing people to the birds and the area he clearly loves.
"[...] These wonderful birds and especially their habitats in Spain's Extremadura are celebrated in this new book. The wild and not so wild landscapes of this part of Spain turn out to be the real heroes of this ambitious volume that explores the ecosystem of the local birds and animals. Ian Parsons has clearly fallen in love with the vultures of Spain as well as the rich variety of other Iberian birds. His descriptions of this haunting landscape over the course of a year illustrates an essential and fascinating ecosystem. It is a very personal account of how the author sees the landscape changing across the seasons with the comings and goings of some of the most iconic birds that inhabit it, as well as its more permanent inhabitants. [...]"
– Adam Bloch, Ibis, August 2021