Barn Owl
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Black Redstart
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Common Gull
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Feral Pigeon
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Great Black-backed Gull
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Great Tit
Green Woodpecker
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Grey Partridge
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Herring Gull
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House Sparrow
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Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
Lesser Whitethroat
Little Owl
Long-eared Owl
Long-tailed Tit
Marsh Tit
Meadow Pipit
Mistle Thrush
Pied Flycatcher
Pied Wagtail
Red Kite
Red-legged Partridge
Reed Bunting
Ring-necked Parakeet
Sand Martin
Short-eared Owl
Song Thrush
Spotted Flycatcher
Stock Dove
Tawny Owl
Tree Sparrow
Turtle Dove
Willow Tit
Willow Warbler
Wood Pigeon
Yellow Wagtail

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Biology & Atlases

These books are about the biology and behaviour of birds, and their seasonal distribution and movements.

cover Essential Ornithology; G. Scott; Oxford University Press; ISBN 0198569971; 2010
Within this slim book (about 160 pages) there is a splendidly succinct but comprehensive coverage of ornithology with plenty of illustrations and without too much scientific terminology. There are plentiful references to further reading material too.

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cover Handbook of Bird Biology; S. Podulka et. al.; Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology; ISBN 093802762X; 2004
This mighty tome comprises over 1200 pages and is the basis for Cornell University's Home Study Course in Bird Biology. The topics are both diverse and detailed, including: feathers and plumage, skeleton, muscles and internal organs, respiratory and circulatory systems, nervous and hormonal systems, evolution, flight and migration, bird songs and calls, eggs, nests and nestlings, ecology and conservation. Superbly illustrated, well written and a key text for anyone interested in the biology of birds.

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cover Avian Architecture; P. Goodfellow; Princeton University Press; ISBN 069114849X; 2011
If you have ever pondered about how birds construct their nests, marvelled at the intricacy of the nest or the ingenuity of the birds then this a book you will enjoy. For each of the main nest types, the author describes how a nest is typically constructed, together with sketches showing the step-by-step constriction, as well as many illustrations and photographs of example nests.

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cover Bird Census Techniques; C. J. Bibby, et. al; Academic Press Press; ISBN 0120958317; 2000
This book will be of interest if you take part in fieldwork, like the BTO Breeding Bird Survey, or you are interested in why there are different surveys methods and how they are designed. It explains the reasoning behind each survey technique with examples of them being applied.

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cover Avian Flight; J. J. Videler; Oxford University Press; ISBN 0199299927; 2006
This book is an enlightening and comprehensive review of scientific research into avian flight, including the history of bird flight study, aerodynamics, functional morphology, evolution, kinematics, physiology and the costs of flight. The author also argues the case for rethinking some of the current theories, particularly the arboreal and cursorial theories of the evolution of flight. The bottom line: we still don't know for sure how birds fly!

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cover Moult in Birds; H.B. Ginn & D.S. Melville; BTO; ISBN 0903793024; 2000
The first section gives a summary of feathers and their structure, arrangement and functions and reviews the various types of moult which are found in different species. The second section gives details of the number of flight feathers, the sequence, season and rate of moult for each species. Although intended for ringers, this book will be of interest to those wanting to learn more about the fascinating moulting process.

cover The Ornithologist's Dictionary; J. Erritzoe et. al; Lynx Edicions; ISBN 8496553434; 2007
If you don't know the difference between decurved and recurved or other oftentimes spectacular scientific terms, this is probably the book you need.

cover Bird Ringing: A Concise Guide; D. E. Balmer et. al; British Trust for Ornithology; ISBN 1906204454; 2009
Published during the 100th Anniversary of Bird Ringing in the UK, this well-written book explains how and why birds are ringed, gives examples of what it reveals about bird movements, survival, etc. There are also lots of photographs and other illustrations throughout.

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cover The New Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain & Ireland: 1988-1991; D. Wingfield Gibbons, et. al.; T&AD Poyser; ISBN 0856610755; 1994
A comprehensive report of the current populations for all of our breeding birds. Each report, by a leading ornithologist, has a summary of the factors affecting the birds, and can include distribution maps and statistics.

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cover Manual of Ornithology - Avian Structure & Function; N.S. Proctor et. al; Yale University Press; ISBN 0300076193; 1993
A copiously illustrated book describing bird anatomy and physiology. I'm still reading this book, but so far I have done nothing but learn more about birds.

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cover Bird Migration; D. Couzens; New Holland Publishers; ISBN 184330970X ; 2005
If you've ever marvelled at how so many seemingly fragile birds can make such arduous journeys during their migration, you will love this this beautifully written and illustrated book. There is something for everyone - practical tips on finding migrating birds to the latest scientific discoveries. There's also a summary for each species that passes through Britain.

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cover Bird Migration - A General Survey; P. Berthold; Oxford University Press; ISBN 0198507879; 2001
An incredible review of scientific research into bird migration; this is possibly the most authoritative book on the subject. For a more readable text, see Bird Migration by Dominic Couzens or Time to Fly by Jim Flegg.

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cover The Life of Birds; D. Attenborough; BBC Books; ISBN 0563387920; 1999
The book that accompanies the best ever TV series dedicated to birds. I have not yet read this book - keeping it for a rainy day - but if its anything like the TV series it should be good.

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cover The State of the Nation's Birds; C. Mead; Whittet Books; ISBN 1873580452; 2000
This book summarises the status of our breeding birds and discusses the main habitats, how they are changing and how this could affect the birds. In addition to this are Chris Mead's own thoughts - which are always worth our attention.

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cover Ornithology; F. Gill; Freeman; ISBN 0716724154; 2000
A comprehensive text on ornithology covering: evolution, form and function, behaviour and communication, and population dynamics and conservation. Goes into more details than the Handbook of Bird Biology, so is an ideal companion.

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cover The Sibley Guide to Bird Life & Behaviour; D. Sibley; Helm; ISBN 0713662506; 2001
Intended as a companion to the widely acclaimed "North American Bird Guide", this book looks at all aspects of bird behaviour, ecology, taxonomy and conservation of 80 American bird families, but don't let this put you off as many aspects are common to British species too.

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cover The Migration Atlas; C. Wernham et. al; T & AD Poyser; ISBN 0713665149; 2002
Detailed descriptions and maps of about 200 migratory species provide an up-to-date and in-depth analysis of bird migration in Britain and Ireland.

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Birds by Behaviour Time to Fly; J. Flegg; BTO; 1904870082; 2004
This book provides an excellent insight into the migratory journeys of many of our familiar birds from several different habitats, such as gardens, farmland, woodland and estuary.  Drawing on the wealth of information in The Migration Atlas, this book is easy to read and you will learn about how, why and where birds such as Redwings, Swallows or Avocets migrate.

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Lovegrove Birds in England; A. Brown & P. Grice; Christopher Helm; ISBN 0713665300; 2005
This book establishes the status, range and abundance of every species found in England by analysing and summarising all the records, surveys and population estimates for the species since records began.

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Lovegrove Birds in Wales; R. Lovegrove et. al.; T & AD Poyser; ISBN 0856610690; 1994
This is a scientific account of the birds found in Wales. The other authors include Graham Williams and Iolo Williams, the latter being the star of The Birdman TV series.
Winter Atlas The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland; P. Lack; T & AD Poyser; ISBN 0856610437; 1986
This out-of-print book includes descriptions and detailed maps of about 200 species that over-winter Britain and Ireland.
Weather & Bird Behaviour Weather & Bird Behaviour; N. Elkins; T & AD Poyser; ISBN 0713668253; 2004
The weather affects bird behaviour greatly, mainly through availability of food and water, and influences timing of breeding and migration. This book provides a fascinating insight.

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Consider the Birds Consider the Birds - Who They Are and What They Do; C. Tudge; Allen Lane; ISBN 1846140978; 2008
An entertaining and often light-hearted explanation of bird biology including (the current thinking on) their evolution from dinosaurs. There are, however, quite a few mistakes, such as who composed "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square" and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker being extinct in the UK, which raises questions about the accuracy of some of the other information.

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The Life of Birds The Life of Birds; J.C. Welty & M. Baptista; Thomson Learning; ISBN 0030689236; 1988
One of the leading texts on avian biology and ecology. Not as easy to read as Gill's Ornithology and also a little more dated but does cover some topics in more detail.

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Sturkie's Avian Physiology Sturkie's Avian Physiology; G. Causey Whittow; Academic Press; ISBN 0127476059; 1999
The classic primary reference for avian physiology with chapters written by different leading experts. Intended for graduate courses, so you really need to have at least a basic understanding of biology to get the most from it.

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Last revision: 21 Feb 2015
Copyright © David Gains 1999-2018.
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