British Tits. By Christopher Perrins. Collins, London, 1979. 304 pages; 16 black-and-white plates; 93 maps and figures. £6.50. 

Tits, Wytham Wood, the Edward Grey Institute and its director Dr Christopher Perrins are inseparably linked. Dr Perrins has been involved with tits ever since his own DPhil thesis; a series of other researchers at the EGI, working under the direction of the late Dr David Lack and more recently of Dr Perrins, have continued the studies on which much of this book is based. It is a masterly summary of what is known, what is suspected and what needs investigating. A really first-rate book of this sort--one to match that other classic 'New Naturalist', Finches (1972) by Dr Ian Newton--can be written only by someone intimately involved with the relevant research who also has a deep affection for the animals he is studying and writing about. Dr Perrins's 'Author's preface' ends by recording 'a great debt of gratitude to the birds themselves for the determined and imperturbable way in which they accept our presence and get on with their daily lives despite our interference.' I know of no-one other than Dr Perrins who could have written this book; and few other authors in the world who could have written a comparable one on an equivalent small group of birds. This is a volume to absorb and treasure; there is more 'meat' within British Tits than in half a dozen volumes of run-of-the-mill bird-books. 

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