"Breeding Birds of The Sheffield Area, including the north-east Peak District" - published January 2014
The genesis of this second Breeding Atlas was an initially casual conversation between David Wood and Richard Hill, but which ended with a plan to produce a follow-up to the seminal "Birds of The Sheffield Area, including the north-east Peak District". Now, 29 years on from the first Atlas, we have the stunning publication pictured left.
As its name suggests, it is a breeding atlas rather than a complete study of all species recorded during the 2003-2008 research study. The scale of the larger task would have been prohibitive, and it was decided that the breeding survey should clearly take precedence as a conservation tool.
The data collection was carried out entirely by volunteer recorders, the data analysis and mapping by the ever-resourceful David Williams, the text by a team of local amateur ornithologists and the awesome colour photographs and figures by the extraordinarily talented Richard Dale Dale, Paul Leonard and Ray Scally. The editing was done by .... the inexhaustible and above-mentioned editors David and Richard.
In addition to the 263 pages of species accounts, photos and distribution maps, the volume includes an Introduction by the eminent Professor Tim Birkhead, and chapters on :
- Sheffield area bird communities
- Land use and the impact of habitat changes on its birds
- Analysis of the current weather trends and the effects of climate change on Sheffield's birds
- A summary of the changing nature of our breeding birds and what the future may hold
- A full checklist of birds recorded in the recording area of the Sheffield Bird Study Group
Here's what the reviews said:
David Ballance, writing in Ibis "a scholarly work....analyses of species are thorough and painstaking, placing the results firmly in a national context, ingenious maps designed to show both distribution and change.
Mark Cocker, "an exemplar that amateur passion for wildlife recording...... an illustrious tradition.....detailed species accounts that are this book's cardinal virtue......For anyone interested in birds in the Sheffield area the book is an absolute must".
The BTO describe it as an "excellent Atlas" (BTO News, May-June 2014) and the reviewer for British Birds concluded that "The editors and the Sheffield Bird Study Group are to be congratulated. This excellent book will be of wide interest, both to local birdwatchers and to all interested in the wildlife of Sheffield - an often underrated city surrounded by one of the most diverse range of bird habitats in England."'
"Birds of The Sheffield Area, including the north-east Peak District"
The production of a book covering the birds of the Sheffield area was discussed before the SBSG as such first met. In fact, the editorial in our first Annual Report in 1973 report stated: "The Sheffield Region has long needed a definitive publication about its local birds. At long last, one is soon to appear ... ". In fact it was another 12 years before it finally reached the bookshelves in 1985, in a quite different guise from when the idea was first mooted, and entitled "Birds of the Sheffield Area, including the North East Peak District".
The project had developed considerably during its making and had become, not only the first Breeding Atlas for the Sheffield area, but also a detailed report on the status of all birds recorded in the area on passage and as winter visitors or vagrants.
The main bulk of the book consists of the systematic list but the book also contains the articles: "A history of Sheffield ornithology", "Habitats and bird communities", "Visible migration studies" and "Twenty-five years on: the changing face of Sheffield's birds". Also included are maps, histograms and distribution plots, showing the range and status of the birds of the area. The book is illustrated with numerous excellent black and white line drawings, mostly by Sheffield artists, and there is a foreword by J.T.R.Sharrock.
The book was published by SBSG and Sheffield City Libraries. The publication is now sadly out of print, but copies can occasionally be found in local second-hand bookshops, or online here.