Birds and golf courses - a guide to habitat management is a splendid publication from the RSPB and the R&A. The Chief Executives of the two societies - Graham Wynne and Peter Dawson respectively - provide the foreword. It is written by Keith Duff, retired Chief Scientist with English Nature, and the RSPB's Nigel Symes, both experts in bird conservation.
This 80 page booklet - you can't call it a book as it's smaller than the Pitchcae magazine - is beautifully illustrated and laid out.
It begins with an illustrated list of vunerable birds, currently on the RSPB's red and amber list, that can be helped by management on golf courses. I was surprised to see the humble house sparrow on the red list, but it just highlights the effect that we humans have had on our habitat.
This is followed by an overview of 'management planning' and then heads off to look at the various types of course - Links, Heathland, Grassland & Downland and Parkland - and the bird species relevant to each type.
Examples are given of good practice, including Royal Birkdale and Royal Troon (Links), Hankley Common and Enville (Heathland) and Cumberwell and Filey (Grassland). Habitat management - woodland, hedgerow and wetland - is also discussed, along with buildings and structures, again with course examples. It is, perhaps, not surprising to see a number of the 'Gingerbread' courses cited in the booklet.
The booklet closes with a chapter on communicating the wildlife message to club members and a list of useful contacts.
Whilst by no means comprehensive, Birds and Golf Courses offers clear and concise pointers to any greenkeeper wishing to improve the success of the UK's bird population whilst, at the same time, improving the image of golf courses.
Published by The R&A. Cost £7.99 plus £2.29 p&p
Buy online at www.randa.org or by post to
Catherine McGirk, The R&A, St. Andrews, Fife KY16 9JD