In Bird Populations, the latest addition to the New Naturalist series, Ian Newton explores bird populations and what causes their fluctuation – food supplies, competitors, predators, parasites, pathogens and human activity.
The combination of a rapidly expanding human population, a predominantly utilitarian attitude to land, central government policy on land use and increasing mechanisation have combined to promote more massive changes in land use in recent decades than at any previous comparable period. These developments have in turn brought huge changes in bird habitats and populations; some species dependent on the old landscapes declined, while others have increased. Over the same period, changing public attitudes to wildlife allowed previously scarce bird species to recover from past onslaughts, while climate warming has promoted further changes.
In this seminal new work, Ian Newton sets out to explain why different bird species are distributed as they are, and changed over the years in the way that they have. The regular watching and study of birds now provides a source of recreation and pleasure for very large numbers of people, while continued monitoring of bird numbers can also alert us to impending environmental problems. For all of us, a world with fewer birds would be a poorer place.
"[...] This is an exemplary book and exactly what you want from a New Naturalist. Ian Newton is to avian ecology what David Attenborough is to wildlife TV programmes: someone who knows what they are talking about; someone with hands-on experience; someone you can trust; and someone whose writing is straightforward and clear. Overall, this is an invaluable, readable handbook for anyone – professional or amateur ornithologist – interested in bird numbers and what affects them."
- Tim Birkhead, Ibis 157(2), April 2015
"[...] For all the fashionable talk these days of ‘ecosystem services’ and ‘biodiversity’, we still need to understand the details of how populations fluctuate if we are to attempt to effectively manage/conserve them; in many ways, this volume provides a handbook to just that. Will it replace my battered copy of Population Limitation? Probably not. Although more up to date, it lacks the exhaustive tables and global reach of that more technical tome (not a criticism, just reflective of a different audience), but I suspect that it is not going to be far from my desk. Even better would be a searchable e-book version so that studies pertinent to different species or contexts could be located quickly. Much has been made of the collectable nature of the New Naturalists; pristine copies will no doubt sit on many bookshelves and, in this case, that should be considered a crime. Anyone interested in Britain’s bird populations will learn from this book, and I certainly did. This is a book that deserves to become well thumbed and which will repay re-reading many times."
- Rob Robinson, britishbirds.co.uk/, 22-04-2014
Editors' Preface vii
Author's Foreword and Acknowledgements ix
1. Preview 1
2. Population Regulation 33
3. Food Supplies: General Principles and Individual Impacts 52
4. Food Supplies: Population Impacts 72
5. Nest-sites 115
6 .Predation: General Principles and Individual Impacts 139
7 .Predation: Population Impacts 159
8 .Parasitic Diseases: General Principles and Individual Impacts 200
9 .Parasitic Diseases: Population Impacts 226
10. Competition between Species 249
11. Interactions between Different Limiting Factors 278
12. Interactions between Predators and Resources 293
13. Interactions between Parasites and Resources 328
14. Weather 346
15. Climate Change 378
16. Managed Hunting 414
17. Other Bird Killing 431
18. Effects of Pesticides 464
19. Effects of Other Pollutants 488
20. Reflections 511
Species Index 578
General Index 588
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Ian Newton is an English ornithologists, now retired, who, amongst others, has been Senior Ornithologist at the United Kingdom's Natural Environment Research Council, Chairman of the Council of the RSPB and visiting professor of ornithology at the University of Oxford. Newton has also held the positions of President of the British Ornithologists' Union and the British Ecological Society (1994–1995). He has author several New Naturalists, including Finches (1985), Bird Migration (2010), Bird Populations (2013) and Farming and Birds (2017). He has also written two Poyser Monographs: Population Ecology of Raptors (1979) and The Sparrowhawk (1986) and several major academic titles with Academic Press, including Population Limitation in Birds (1998), Speciation and Biogeography of Birds (2003), and The Migration Ecology of Birds (2007).