By DAVID LACK (Methuen, London, 1956). 239 p a g e s ; 10 half-tone plates; 24 text illustrations. 21s. N O T the least striking feature of that astonishing building, the University Museum of Science at Oxford, is the tower; for behind the ventilator shafts which puncture its roof Swifts have nested for many years. Here, as is now well known, Dr. David Lack and his wife have carried out a ten-year study of this little-known bird, and many ornithologists have clambered up into the tower to peer for themselves into the glass-backed nesting-boxes placed behind the shafts. The "basic idea for the experiment at Oxford" came from a visit to the Swiss ornithologist Weitnauer, who persuaded Swifts to nest in boxes under the eaves of his house. In 1952 D r . Lack published in British Birds (vol. xlv, pp. 186-218) a long paper on his work, and this has been expanded slightly, and brought up to 1955, to form the core of the present exciting book (the scope of which is far wider than is suggested by the title). T h e clear lucid style of the earlier paper is retained, and the text is deliberately non-technical. It is constantly enlivened by amusing asides: like the description of the Swift which "stood up over its eggs each time that it heard the loud clapping of the crowd in the near-by P a r k s as successive New Zealand wickets fell to a triumphant University (which
Volume: 
Issue 11
Authors: 
Hickling, R. A. O
Y, G. K
Johnstone, G. W

Stay at the forefront of British birding by taking out a subscription to British Birds.

Subscribe Now