Reviews

Published on 01 February 1908 in Book reviews

The British Warblers–A History, with Problems of their Lives. By H. Eliot Howard, F.Z.S., M.B.O.U. Parts I. and II. Coloured and photogravure plates. (R. H. Porter.) 21s. net per part. work promises to be of quite unusual interest and importance on account of the original observations on the habits of many of the birds of which it treats. On this account, and also for the plates depicting various seldom-seen attitudes, it is to be highly commended. The plates–some in colour and some in photogravure–represent the best work we have yet seen from Mr. Gronvold. Those showing various attitudes assumed during courtship are especially lifelike, and these have been drawn from Mr. Howard’s originals. Part I. is concerned with the Sedge-Warbler and the Grasshopper-Warbler, and Part II. with the Chiffchaff and the Yellow-browed Warbler. The observations on the habits of the first three mentioned species should be read by everyone interested in bionomical questions. To enable him to make such detailed studies as are here set forth on the daily life of these secretive little birds Mr. Howard must be endowed with a patience beyond most men, and it is evident that he must also be a persistently early riser. There are, too, several thoughtful passages on evolutionary subjects–such as sexual selection, and the plasticity of instinct–which deserve careful perusal. We may here draw attention to a few of the points brought out by Mr. Howard’s observations. In the three species mentioned, the males appear to arrive at the breeding place

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