Wildfowl (Collins New Naturalist Library, Volume 110)
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New Naturalist Wildfowl provides a much-anticipated overview of the fascinating birds that have become icons of our diminishing wilderness areas.
Wildfowl --" swans, geese and ducks --" have been the subject of poetry, fables, folklore and music, and a source of inspiration to writers, artists, historians and naturalists alike. Historically, they have featured prominently in our diet --" more recently they have become the most widely domesticated group of birds. Wildfowl have been scientifically studied more intensively than any other group of birds and were one of the first groups to highlight more general issues of conservation. Their status as the most popular group of birds is underlined by the success of the original Wildfowl Trust (now the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust).
David Cabot has been obsessed with wildfowl for nearly sixty years. In this seminal new work, he discusses the 56 species of wildfowl that have been recorded either in a natural state, or that have been introduced and now maintain self-sustaining populations in Britain and Ireland. He focuses on their social behaviour, feeding ecology and population dynamics, and in particular their seasonal migration patterns. He also explores the evolution and history of wildfowl and our long relationship with them, through popular mythology and legends, which continue to fascinate us with a sense of mystery and awe.
the female would have been sufficient for the crossing, with some in reserve so the female would arrive in Iceland with a little extra reserve fat. The situation with a large male was estimated to have been more marginal. Little or no excess fat would have been available to power their flights from sea level to the heights recorded for some of the swans.15 These findings underscore the critical importance for the swans, and indeed for all wildfowl, of building up body reserves prior to the spring
(1975). Breeding Biology and Behavior of the Oldsquaw (Clangula hyemalis L.). Ornithological Monographs 18. American Ornithologists’ Union, Tampa, Florida. Allen, D., Mellon, C. & Looney, D. (2006). Ruddy duck Oxyura jamaicensis in Northern Ireland. Irish Birds 8, 41-50. Amman, G.A. (1937). Number of contour feathers in Cygnus and Xanthocephalus. Auk 54, 201-2. Anders, N. R., Churchyard, T. & Hiddink, J. G. (in press). Predation of the shelduck Tadorna tadorna on the mud snail Hydrobia ulvae.
Sweden, northern Germany and Denmark. Most of these Icelandic birds return ‘home’, but there is at least one case of an Icelandic whooper switching populations and breeding in Finland. Many of the whoopers wintering in eastern Britain may in fact come from the Scandinavian/Russian population. Observations of colourringed birds have suggested that at least 200 Finnish-breeding birds spend each winter in southern Britain, and there are noted upsurges in numbers in eastern Britain following cold
including two — possibly a pair — on the North Slob, Co. Wexford, in March 2004. Both were caught and ringed on 10 March, and the female was subsequently controlled at Lappi, Finland, on 25 May 2004. It was later seen at Vaasa, Finland on 22 March 2006. It had not been seen in Ireland during the intervening winters. The other form that occurs in Britain is the tundra bean goose, Anser fabalis rossicus (Fig. 30). It breeds in low Arctic northern Russia and western Siberia as far FIG 30. Bean
lost. Breeding success is highly variable according to location and year — approximately 68 per cent of nests produce young with 11–15 per cent of all young fledging.229 In Scotland some 57 per cent of 1,115 nests studied hatched, 38 per cent were predated and 5 per cent were deserted. In Finland, during a three-year study with 4,342 eggs monitored, 78 per cent hatched and of those only 11.4 per cent fledged. Productivity per nesting pair in each year was 2.2, 1.0 and 0.5 ducklings surviving to