On the southern fringe of Cambridge lies a group of fields that have become a haven for farmland wildlife, and above all for six iconic birds of the arable countryside. John Meed has studied these fields for over ten years, following the changing seasons and braving the elements in a quest to know the remarkable birds and animals that live there, and to understand what makes the fields so special. In A haven for farmland birds he describes what he has learnt about both the fascinating social lives of these endearing creatures and the ‘sustainable farming business practice’ that helps provide the habitats they need – all in his lucid and ‘transportive’ writing style.
‘A rallying cry to promote and adopt the nature friendly farming approach you describe much more widely.’ Martin Baker, Conservation Manager of the Wildlife Trust
‘I really applaud you for your efforts to observe these beautiful birds. You have grasped the complexity of a grey partridge’s life cycle to the finest detail. Beautiful.’ Francis Buner, Head of the Interreg North Sea PARTRIDGE project
‘A wonderful piece of work. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it brought back memories of childhood wanderings through fields at home.’ Siobhan Smyth, Programme Leader for University Centre Reaseheath
‘Fascinating. Story telling is awesome.’ Georgina Bray, Farm Manager, RSPB Hope Farm
‘What a fabulous read! I learnt a lot.’ Guy Belcher, Biodiversity Officer for Cambridge City Council.
You can order A haven for farmland birds for £11.99 plus £3 postage and packing from NHBS, the online bookshop that specialises in nature publications.
You can also order from my bandcamp page.
Contents (160pp A5):
Chapter 1: Why these fields matter (the crisis of farmland biodiversity and the study area)
Chapter 2: The endearing grey partridge (introduction to the stars of the show)
Chapter 3: Two’s company… (grey partridge behaviour during pairing)
Chapter 4: …but fifteen’s a covey (the extended family lives of partridges)
Chapter 5: Grey partridge populations (variations during the course of each year)
Chapter 6: Corn buntings – a local success story (how this fascinating species thrives)
Chapter 7: A haven for threatened farmland species (skylark, yellow wagtail, yellowhammer and linnet)
Chapter 8: A complex web (lessons learnt about a thriving arable ecosystem)
An elegy? (the threats in store)
You can download the first chapter here: A haven Chapter 1
Sample pages (click on image to enlarge):