The H o u s e Sparrow. By D . Summers-Smith. Collins, London, 1963. x v i + 2 6 9 p a g e s ; one colour and 32 black-and-white photographs; 36 text-figures. 25 s. The distinguished reputation of the New Naturalist series is greatly enhanced by this latest addition to its range of Special Volumes. In eleven years of patient observation and study Mr. Summers-Smith has devoted himself to the task of finding out what makes the House Sparrow probably the most successful and adaptable bird in the world. His thoroughness in unravelling the complexities of the daily life and habits of resident populations in two contrasting areas of England, as well as in examining the place of the species throughout the world and its relationship with man, is matched by a succinct and absorbing style which makes a most fascinating and readable book. In the first of three sections the House Sparrow's life history is taken from the time the young birds leave the nest and followed through their adult and everyday life, pair formation, display and breeding. In a chapter on numbers and density it is estimated that there are nine and a half million House Sparrows in Great Britain. The second section deals with origins and distribution, and the third with ecology. T h e whole book is. illustrated with many good photographs and the thirty-six text-figures include six drawings by P. J. Stead of display postures. The underlying theme of the book is
Issue 11

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