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The History of British Birds$
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Derek Yalden and Umberto Albarella

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199217519

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199217519.001.0001

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Now and hereafter

Now and hereafter

(p.175) 8 Now and hereafter
The History of British Birds

D. W. Yalden

U. Albarella

Oxford University Press

The changed attitude to birds, including regarding legal protection, is reflected in the high number of membership of the RSPB and National Trust, and in the research activities of the BTO and its members. Many of the rarer raptors recovered their numbers during the 20th century, and some (red kite, goshawk, white-tailed eagle) have been actively reintroduced. Other species have returned naturally (e.g., crane, osprey, avocet). There are still real problems of conflict between raptors, their prey and human interests (e.g., hen harriers and red grouse; peregrines and racing pigeons). But the present bird fauna contains more species, including more raptors, than ever before. Birds as a group are more diverse than mammals, but contribute far less biomass. Passerines dominate numerically, and are the most widespread, but non-passerines dominate biomass. The domestic fowl is still much the most abundant species, as it has been since Roman times (and offers most biomass), but the biomass of pheasants is also well above that of any native.

Keywords:   red kite, white-tailed eagle, goshawk, biomass, pheasant, domestic fowl, RSPB, BTO

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