British Birds June 2011

The June issue of British Birds is now out and contains the following:

A history of the Institute for Avian Research – Helgoland Bird Observatory
This is a translation of an article originally published in German in 2010, to help celebrate the centenary of the establishment of a bird observatory on the island of Helgoland. It describes the beginnings of the observatory, and its development since, highlighting the key personnel involved and the linked establishment of the Institute for Avian Research. The main research themes of the modern era are outlined, with examples, and an appendix describes some of the rare migrant birds recorded on the island of Helgoland.

Eastern Crowned Warbler in Co. Durham: new to Britain
Britain’s first Eastern Crowned Warbler was discovered at South Shields, Co. Durham, on 22nd October 2009, where it remained until 24th October. The South Shields bird followed others in Norway, Finland and the Netherlands between 2002 and 2007, plus one on Helgoland, Germany, in 1843. Dougie Holden and Mark Newsome describe the discovery of the South Shields bird, and discuss the species’ distribution and previous European records.

The Fair Isle Wren: population and territory occupancy, 1950–2010
The Fair Isle Wren is the least numerous subspecies of bird in Britain and perhaps Europe. Population levels and territory occupancy since 1950 are discussed in this paper by Simon and Richard Aspinall, which speculates on some of the factors that affect the trends and patterns observed.

The appearance and status of the St Kilda Wren
Will Miles summarises all known data on the population size and trends of the St Kilda Wren, now included as a taxon monitored by the Rare Breeding Birds Panel. The appearance of this distinctive subspecies of Wren is discussed and illustrated.

Topics covered include: a Little Egret catching dragonflies; a Eurasian Jay taking peanuts from a squirrel feeder; aggressive behaviour by a Dartford Warbler to a breeding Stonechat; and the display of the Zitting Cisticola.

As usual, a range of reviews, news & comment and a summary of recent reports complete the issue.

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