This book is a history of the birds of County Cork from the earliest times to the present. It covers all aspects of the ecology of all species (427 to end of 2018) known to have occurred in the county, especially concentrating on population change, distribution, and migration. There has been no tradition in Ireland for the publication of county avifaunas, as there has been in the UK for over 200 years, and while this is not the first such book for Ireland, it treats each species in a depth that has not been done before. This sets it apart as unique in an Irish context.
The authors believe this book is timely in the sense that bird populations are undergoing change at a rate never experienced previously. On the one hand, we are seeing major conservation efforts at restoring 'lost' species, such as the two eagle species and the Red Kite, while at the same time we are seeing unprecedented declines in many bird populations due largely to climate warming, but also the arrival of new breeding species for the same reason.
The book is laid out in six chapters which accounts for 13%; the rest being made up of a Systematic List of the 427 species. The chapters include a history of ornithology in Cork and an account of the ornithologists of the past. There are also several appendices that contain important data, including a list (with grid references) of place names which will enable the reader to locate any place mentioned in the text. There are also maps that show geology and land use, in addition to showing the main sites in the county, coastal and inland. It is illustrated by graphs, tables, photographs (by Richard Mills) and drawings (by Russ Heselden).
The authors believe this book will be a useful reference for students of ornithology, conservation agencies, planners, environmental consultants, farmers, industrialists, and the growing band of citizen scientists at a time of considerable change.
Patrick Smiddy is an honorary research associate with Ornithology Group at University College Cork. He is the widely published author of book chapters and scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals, a former member of the Irish Rare Birds Committee, and editor of the journal Irish Birds. He has retired from the National Parks and Wildlife Service and has wide experience of Irish ornithology over the last 50 years.
Mark Shorten has been birding since 1975. He has partaken in numerous ornithological surveys, is the former editor of the Cork Bird Report and has been the Cork County bird recorder since 1990. He is currently working as a bird surveyor.
Russ Heselden is an artist and illustrator based in Norfolk, UK. He works in a range of media and specialises in paintings of birds and other wildlife
"The author deserves great credit for this work, which will make a significant contribution to the fields of ornithology and avian conservation in Ireland. It is one of the most significant and overdue Irish ornithological publications of recent times, and represents a very significant contribution to the literature."
– Niall Hatch, Head of Communications & Development, BirdWatch Ireland