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The Protection of Birds: an Indictment

    Naturevolume 115pages672673 (1925) | Download Citation



    MR. LOYD'S main indictment of the present system of bird protection is its indiscriminate nature, whereby it is sought to protect all sorts and conditions of birds against the hand of man, without due regard to the effect on bird life as a whole. He points out forcibly and with a great measure of truth that indiscriminate protection may, and often does, lead to the overabundance of hardy, virile species at the expense of less adaptable kinds. As an example of this, he suggests that one result of the wholesale protection afforded to the birds of Lundy will be the gradual extermination of kittiwakes, guillemots, razorbills, and puffins by the herring gulls, which feed on their eggs and young. In the same way, he affirms that peregrines and jackdaws have accounted for the chough in its former haunts, the great skua for the whimbrel on the Orkneys and Shetlands, and gulls for the tern colonies on the Fame Islands. The author further argues that natural causes, such as floods and shortage of food, and necessary artificial causes, such as lighthouses, are responsible for more wholesale loss among birds than anything that man can accomplish, and suggests that overprotection among vigorous species may, by bringing about overcrowding and consequent epidemic, cause that very destruction which it is designed to avoid.

    The Protection of Birds: an Indictment.

    By Lewis R. W. Loyd. Pp. vii + 88. (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1924.) 3s. 6d. net.

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