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The introductory chapters describe the habitats, the history of ornithological research, breeding birds, bird migration, as well as winter visitors and rarities, and they are fully illustrated with - sometimes historical - photographs. Furthermore, the methods of data collection and analyses are explained in detail. The occurrence of all 426 species recorded on Helgoland is reviewed on up to four pages per species. Information is given on status, subspecies, breeding, migration, habitat and food, trends in numbers and factors affecting local mortality. The results from Helgoland are discussed in a broader and often international context for common species as well as for rarities. For all species with more than ten records the phenology and often also the trend in numbers (for rarities from 1840-2009!) are illustrated in histograms. For some species figures for roosting and for nocturnal and diurnal migration are provided. Maps show all recovery sites of birds ringed on and ringing sites of birds found on Helgoland, respectively. For almost every species at least one picture is included, and all photographs have either been taken on Helgoland or show the actual skin of a bird that had been collected on the island.
53 species with presumed or proven origin from captivity are treated in a separate chapter. Other sections concern all reports of rare birds on Helgoland not accepted by the Helgoland rarities committee (HAK), a list of bird names in Helgolandic language, references (24 pages) and a trilingual index (English, scientific, German).
The end-paper contains a map of Helgoland with all locally used sitenames and a quick-reference-guide to abbreviations, graphs and maps.
The text is in German, but every chapter and all species accounts are supplemented by an extensive English summary. The Methods Chapter is completely bilingual to facilitate the use of the book by foreign readers.