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The History of British Birds$
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Derek Yalden and Umberto Albarella

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199217519

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199217519.001.0001

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Coming in from the cold

Coming in from the cold

(p.49) 3 Coming in from the cold
The History of British Birds

D. W. Yalden

U. Albarella

Oxford University Press

This chapter covers the period from about 15,000 years ago, as the ice sheets of the Last Glaciation retreated, through the Late Glacial and Younger Dryas periods and the post-glacial warming at about 11,000 years ago, into the forested Mesolithic period. There is a good Late Glacial record of bird bones from cave sites in the Mendips, Gower Peninsula, and at Creswell Crags: northern species such as Ptarmigan and Red Grouse were then common even in southern Britain, but such interesting species as Great and Little Bustard were also present. In the postglacial period, as tree cover increased, so did species of woodlands (e.g., eagle owl) and wetlands (e.g., crane at Star Carr). Some open ground remained, as evidenced by species like grey partridge, but the Mesolithic record, except in coastal sites (like Oronsay), is patchy. A fuller consideration of the likely bird fauna (especially passerines) requires extrapolation from what we know of habitats available, and the likely bird fauna of those habitats.

Keywords:   Creswell Crags, Mendip caves, Star Carr, Oronsay, great bustard, eagle owl, crane

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