Signals for Survival. By Niko Tinbergen and Hugh Falkus. Drawings by Eric Ennion. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1970. 80 pages; 88 photographs; many coloured sketches. £2. Based on the B.B.C. film which won the Italia Prize for documentaries in 1969, this book adds to the subject by way of its own more contemplative form of expression. Photographs combined with drawings and linked by narrative portray and explain the language' of Lesser Black-backed Gulls in a colony on Walney Island throughout the breeding season. Brilliant camera work time and again supplies the picture--selected from the sequence of a complete piece of behaviour--that clearly illustrates the signal used to convey the birds' intentions, desires, threats and fears. (The page size, 11 x 81/2nches, allows for agreeably large reproductions.) The text, refreshingly wasting few words, plays a dual role. It substitutes as best it may for the sound track and it is the loss of 'sound' that is most missed in the total effect. It also provides the linking narrative in a style that is acceptably anthropomorphic since it is informed by science, not sentimentality. To complement the photographs Dr Ennion contributes, in his inimitable style, a number of water-colour drawings in black, blue and 'sand dune' buff. These often usurp the role of the camera to good effect, especially where they depict a sequence of significant movements. Such lively sketches, many taking the place of diagrams, help to translate the action from film to page; not only do they make their point, they
Volume: 
Issue 2
Authors: 
Baker, L
Dawson, D. G
Horton, K. W
Baker, L
Dawson, D. G
Horton, K. W

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