Bird Migration: A General Survey (Oxford Ornithology S.)


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This is a revised, updated and expanded version of Peter Berthold's classic study which first came out in 1990. It brings together work on different aspects of bird migration, and is quite easy to read, even for people who aren't biologists but just find the topic fascinating. As late as the 18th century, some experts believed that swallows went into swamps for the winter, coming out into daylight to fly in the spring. Today we know a little more about where birds travel to, but there are still areas of controversy, which Berthold skillfully outlines.

'Bird Migration' is essential reading for birdwatchers who want to deepen their knowledge. It also very interesting reading for people who keep captive birds. Many different types of migration are explained, from the heroic long-distance journeys of swallows and warblers, to shorter forays. There is an interesting discussion of why birds migrate, and why their migratory patterns can change. Berthold also gives a useful account of changes in the behaviour and physiology of migratory birds kept in captivity. People who are interested in ecology will also find this book interesting, for its account on the effects of global warming and other environmental trends on bird migration, and the effects of human activity on migrating birds.
This book is well illustrated, with maps, graphs and photographs. There is a useful glossary, a very long bibliography for readers wanting to follow up sources, and a comprehensive index.