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This review has revealed numerous facts about the Harbour's birds and how rapidly changes can occur. Several examples to illustrate this point: in 1978 there were 930 breeding pairs of Herring Gull, now there may be only 10 pairs; until the late 1980's the Little Egret was nationally a very rare bird, now over 40 pairs breed on Brownsea Island; the Avocet, once a rare visitor, now its wintering population is present in internationally important numbers. These few examples illustrate the rapid changes that can occur. The purpose of this review is to form a baseline by which to gauge the fortunes or misfortunes of the international and nationally important species that use Poole Harbour to breed, refuel on passage or for winter quarters.