CAE Reading and Use of English Part 8
You are going to read an article about various birds in Britain. For questions 47-56, choose from the sections of the article (A-D). The sections may be chosen more than once.
Of which bird are the following stated?
47 Further attempts to increase its numbers were made once initial attempts had proved successful.
48 Its population growth is a reflection of how tough it is.
49 There is statistical evidence to support the view that it is a very popular bird.
50 There was a particular period when its population plummeted.
51 A criticism could be made of its physical appearance.
52 A common perception of it has proved inaccurate.
53 Growth in its numbers has been much more gradual than desired.
54 There is reason to believe that its progress in a particular region will be maintained.
55 Measures taken in the running of a certain type of countryside have assisted in the growth of its population.
56 Even though its population has fallen, it can frequently be seen in various particular locations.
WINGED WINNERS AND LOSERS
Birds in Britain come under scrutiny in a massive new study, Birds Britannica. A record of the avian community in the 21st century, it reveals a continually evolving pattern. Mark Cocker, the principal author of the tome, selects some cases.
A Red Kite
The red kite’s recent rise from a mere handful to several thousands is among the great stories of modern conservation. Testimony to its flagship status is a recent Royal Society for the Protection of Birds poll which ranked it with the golden eagle and song thrush in the nation’s list of favourite birds. The dramatic spread has hinged on a reintroduction scheme at six sites in England and Scotland using kites originally taken from Spain and Sweden. The English releases began in the Chilterns in 1989 and when these had achieved a healthy population, subsequent introductions were made in Northamptonshire and Yorkshire using mainly English birds. The Scottish releases in the 1980s and 1990s have resulted in populations totalling more than 50 pairs. Altogether there are now about 3,000 kites in Britain
B Dartford Warbler
European countries as well as the north African littoral, and has the smallest world range of any of our breeding birds. It is also a highly sedentary bird and a major cause of decline is its great susceptibility to the cold. The worst case occurred in the two successive hard winters of 1961 and 1962 when the numbers fell from 450 pairs to just 10. Memories of this calamitous decrease, coupled with the bird’s own tiny size and seeming delicacy, have cemented our sense of an overarching vulnerability. It is one of the best British examples where a species’ local rarity has been assumed to equal almost constitutional weakness. All the caution is perfectly understandable as an expression of our protective instincts towards a much-loved bird. Yet it sits oddly with the warbler’s continuing rise and expansion to a population of 1,925 pairs by the year 2000. It has undoubtedly been helped by mild winters as well as the intensive management and protection of England’s lowland heath. Yet the Dartford Warbler’s recent history illustrates how easy it is to underestimate the resilience of a small rare bird.
C White-tailed Eagle
It is difficult to judge which is the more exciting conservation achievement – the reintroduction of this magnificent bird or of red kites. By wingspan and weight, this is the largest eagle in Europe and one of the biggest of all birds in Britain. However, if the species itself is on a grand scale, the size of the reintroduced population is tiny and the pace of increase agonizingly slow. The project involved a remarkable team effort by various UK environmental groups, as well as the Norwegian conservationists who organized the capture of the donated birds. Between 1975 and 1985, they released 82 eagles (39 males and 43 females) from a special holding area on the Inner Hebridean island of Rhum. Eight were later recovered dead, but in 1983 came the first breeding attempt.
Two years later, a pair of white-tailed eagles produced the first British-born chick in 69 years and every subsequent breeding season has seen a small incremental improvement. There is now an established breeding nucleus spread between the islands of Skye and Mull as well as the adjacent mainland, and their recent history suggests that the white-tailed eagle’s increase will continue throughout north-west Scotland.
D Spotted Flycatcher
Even the greatest fans of this lovely bird, with its mouse-grey upper parts and whitish breast and belly, would have to admit that it is rather drab. They have no more than a thin, squeaky, small song. However, spotted flycatchers compensate with enormous character.
They are adept at catching large species such as day-flying moths, butterflies, bees and wasps, whose stings they remove by thrashing the victim against the perch. Their specialized diet means that they are among the latest spring migrants to return and are now in serious decline because of half a century of pesticide use. In the past 25 years, their numbers have declined by almost 80 per cent, but they are still sufficiently numerous (155,000 pairs) to be familiar and are often birds of large gardens, churchyards or around farm buildings.