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While Flocks Last

While Flocks Last

Charlie Elder

A worrying number of Britain's birds are in population freefall. We have lost a staggering 60 per cent of our familiar House Sparrows and Starlings over the last 25 years; songbirds haven't much to sing about these days; and many birds of woodlands, wetlands and uplands are now living on a wing and a prayer. Too many of our feathered friends are in real trouble, and the number of species on the critical list both at home and abroad keeps on increasing. Birds are key indicators of the health of our countryside. When they are in trouble, we are all in trouble. Considering a pair of Great Tits can get through 8,000 caterpillars in three weeks, life without such pest control experts would become decidedly uncomfortable. In short, we can't afford to do without birds.

Armed with a decent pair of binoculars and a biological safety suit (in case of a bird flu outbreak), Charlie Elder travels the length and breadth of the British Isles to see our 40 key species in decline - the RSPB's 'Red List' of birds of greatest conservation concern.He looks at why their numbers have fallen, the efforts to encourage their recoveries and meets with experts and enthusiasts working to make a difference. He also examines the benefits birds bring, the importance of looking after them and rise of the birdwatcher - one species that is certainly not in decline.

"While Flocks Last" targets the vast swathe of people who are interested in birds, as well as those concerned about conservation issues. Charlie Elder's humorous and personable approach will appeal to those wearied by po-faced environmentalism but keen to know more about where all our birds have gone… 329 pages.

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