Birdwatching has become an increasingly popular pastime in Ireland as elsewhere. Nor is all of the birdwatching done by the Irish. Many professional ornithologists from Britain and Western Europe find good reason to study Ireland's birds, as do the numerous birdwatching visitors each year. Clive Hutchinson, a leading Irish ornithologist, has compiled this comprehensive review of birds in the Republic and Northern Ireland to coincide with the 21st anniversary year of the Irish Wildbird Conservancy's foundation and he has had the IWC's active support throughout. The book is timely for other reasons, too. Knowledge about the status and distribution of birds in Ireland has increased greatly since the 1960s and this is reflected in the detailed species accounts which form the major part of the book. Factors which led to this greater knowledge, recent changes in bird distribution and status, and reasons for the absence of some species are topics discussed in the book's introductory chapters. Other subjects covered are Ireland's topography, climate and habitats, a review of ornithology and ornithologists in Ireland over the last 100 years, and conservation programmes of more recent times. John Busby's superb illustrations (more than 100) are a feature of the book, helping to set the Irish scene as well as its birds. Jacket paintings by John Busby

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