Kestrels in the Kitchen: the story of Bob and Pat Ratcliffe. By Meg Elizabeth Atkins. (VV. H. Allen, London, 1979. 184 pages; 17 black-and-white photographs. £4.95.)

'Kestrels, owls, gulls, buzzards, heron, geese, ducks, mynahs and crows living not only with the two humans but also in gentle and interested companionship with a number of Siamese cats . . . in a terraced house in a narrow Manchester street.'

The Natural History of Britain and Northern Europe.

Fields and Lowlands. By Derrick Boatman. Coasts and Estuaries. By Richard Barnes.

Edited by James Ferguson-Lees and Bruce Campbell. (Hodder & Stoughton, Sevenoaks, 1979. Each 224 pages; many colour and black-and-white illustrations. £475 each.) The third and fourth titles to appear in this five-volume series, the first two of which have been reviewed already (Brit. Birds 71: 596): they follow the established pattern, with an ecological account followed by illustrated descriptions of the characteristic species of the various habitats. Both ecological accounts provide good summary descriptions, but inevitably suffer from the brevity imposed by the size of the subject compared with the text space available. This is especially evident in Fields and Lowlands, where accounts of all lowland habitats of northwest Europe, ranging from chalk grassland to forest and to farmland, are packed into 60 pages. As in the first two volumes, the species descriptions and illustrations do not nearly match the ecological accounts in quality. This, again, is especially true of the plants, where some of the illustrations are almost unrecognisable. [DAVID STREETER]

Issue 10
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