Letters

Published on 01 October 1909 in Letters

To the Editors of BRITISH BIRDS. “THE NATURAL HISTORY OF BRITISH GAME BIRDS.” B Y J. G. MILLAIS. SIRS,–In offering the following remarks on Mr. Millais’ work I should like it to be clearly understood that they are not made in any spirit of carping criticism, but merely from a desire to prevent important and interesting facts, which have already been well ascertained and correctly described, from being obscured or misrepresented. On turning over the leaves of Mr. Millais’ imposing-looking volume one had hoped to find that the life-history of the few species included had been treated in such an exhaustive manner that nothing of importance had been omitted or could be added to throw further light on the subject. But, unfortunately, this is by no means the case, and on reading the letterpress we find many serious omissions, inaccuracies and careless statements which seriously detract from the work, and cannot be allowed to pass unchallenged. Mr. Millais’ work will be widely read, and we learn on the best authority that the first edition has already been sold out; it is therefore necessary to draw attention to certain important points which require revision in a possible subsequent edition. On page 37 one comes to the Red Grouse (Lagopus scoticus), a species of unusual interest not only from an economic point of view, but also on account of the complicated and bewildering changes of plumage it undergoes. After devoting many years to the study of these changes, I was the first

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