From its long coastline, with cliffs and islands that bustle with breeding seabirds in the summer, to its open moorland that hold some of the most southerly Curlews and Black Grouse, Wales packs a lot of birds into a small area. It is significant for its populations of Chough, Hawfinch and Pied Flycatcher, and its Manx Shearwaters are of global importance. And it has played an important role in the study of migration, as Skokholm was the first bird observatory in Britain.
It is almost 30 years since the first avifauna was published for all of Wales and much has changed. Knowledge of the status of many species has increased thanks to improved monitoring and a greater number of birdwatchers, and we have a better understanding of how humans have affected Wales’ birds, particularly the twin challenges of land-use and climate change. The Birds of Wales synthesises the new information and sets it in context of each species’ history in Wales. It tells the stories of all the birds that have been recorded here, whether common or rare, and looks forward, anticipating what may occur in the coming decades.
It will have an essential place on the bookshelf of everyone with an interest in birds in Wales and should be on the desk or in the rucksack of everyone who influences what happens to the nation’s land and seas. It is a once-in-a-generation state of Wales’ birds.
Rhion Pritchard is a former editor of the Cambrian Bird Report and the Welsh Bird Report, and current editor of Birds in Wales. He is the author of Birds of Meirionnydd (2012) and The Birds of Caernarfonshire (2017), co-editor of The Breeding Birds of North Wales (2013) and is also bird recorder for Caernarfonshire. Julian Hughes: has worked for RSPB since 1992, most recently as manager of the Conwy reserve for 10 years and is currently Head of Species for RSPB Cymru. He is editor of the Welsh Bird Report and was previously Vice Chair of the Welsh Ornithological Society. Ian M Spence: Ian has been retired for 10 years and is a ringer, bird recorder for Denbighshire and Flintshire and Director of Cofnod for 10 years. He was Secretary of the Welsh Ornithological Society from 2006 to 2020 and a co-editor of The Breeding Birds of North Wales (2013). Bob Haycock: until retirement, managed national nature reserves in Pembrokeshire where he is a Regional Representatives of the British Trust for Ornithology. He is a Director of WWBIC and has been actively involved with studying and conserving coastal wildlife in Pembrokeshire for more than 35 years. Anne Brenchley: Anne is a life-long birdwatcher and semi-retired ecologist. She is Chair of the Welsh Ornithological Society and has been a Regional Representative of the British Trust for Ornithology since 2000 and a co-editor of The Breeding Birds of North Wales (2013).