10 SEPTEMBER 1948, Page 17

More Sea - birds The ups and downs of the bird population

are usually hard to explain. In recent years quite a number of species of sea-bird have multiplied conspicuously. One is the Oyster-catcher, which has been seen even in inland places where it has never been seen before. Another is that most cruel of all the birds that fly, the Greater Black-backed Gull. A third is the Fulmar Petrel, which is quite steadily increasing its range, chiefly in a southerly direction. Standard bird-books, written quite a few years ago, are utterly out of date. More information about the bird is contained in the journal of one school natural history club than in any general work. To return to the sparrows, perhaps they are affected by a greater rivalry in the towns. I heard last week of sparrow hawks near Olympia. The suburbs grow popular with carrion crows and tawny owls. Doubtless the most surprising example of fondness for the town is the regular appearance of the black redstart, of all birds, in the inner circle of London.