Wildfowl – swans, geese and ducks – have been the subject of poetry, fables, folklore and music, and a source of inspiration to writers, artists, historians and naturalists alike. Historically, they have featured prominently in our diet – more recently they have become the most widely domesticated group of birds. Wildfowl have been scientifically studied more intensively than any other group of birds and were one of the first groups to highlight more general issues of conservation. Their status as the most popular group of birds is underlined by the success of the original Wildfowl Trust (now the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust).
David Cabot has been obsessed with wildfowl for nearly sixty years. In this seminal new work, he discusses the 56 species of wildfowl that have been recorded either in a natural state, or that have been introduced and now maintain self-sustaining populations in Britain and Ireland. He focuses on their social behaviour, feeding ecology and population dynamics, and in particular their seasonal migration patterns. He also explores the evolution and history of wildfowl and our long relationship with them, through popular mythology and legends, which continue to fascinate us with a sense of mystery and awe.