It is exceedingly gratifying to find the American Ornithologists′ Union, as represented by Mr. Witmer Stone, the Chairman of its Committee on Bird Protection, taking so strong a stand on the question of egg-collecting. In his annual report to the Union (The Auk, XVI, January. 1899, p. 61), Mr. Stone says, “Egg-collecting has become a fad which is encouraged and fostered by the dealers until it is one of the most potent causes of the decrease in our birds. The vast majority of egg-collectors contribute nothing to the science of ornithology, and the issuing of licenses promiscuously to this class makes any law for bird protection practically useless.
“Too often boys regard the formation of a large collection of eggs or birds as necessarily the first step towards becoming an ornithologist of note; but if those who have already won their spurs will take the trouble to point out to the beginners the lines of work which yield results of real benefit to science, they will be led to see exactly how much collecting and what sort of specimens are really needed for scientific research, and not needlessly duplicate what has already been procured. Further, they will in all probability become known as original contributors to ornithological science, while as mere collectors they would bid fair to remain in obscurity.”Mr. Stone's report is of the utmost interest to all workers for the better protection of our birds. We have not space to notice it further here, but it may be obtained by addressing him at the Academy of Natural Science, Philadelphia, Pa., and enclosing six cents in stamps.
Two ornithological organizations established, in January, magazines for the publications of their proceedings and papers relating to the avifauna of their respective states. The first, the ‘Journal of the Maine Ornithological Society,’ an octavo quarterly, is edited by C. H. Morrill, at Pittsfield, Maine; the publisher and business manager being O. W. Knight, of Bangor, Maine. The second, the ‘Bulletin of the Cooper Ornithological Club,’ is edited by Chester Barlow, of Santa Clara, California, with the assistance of Henry Reed Taylor and Howard Robertson. The business managers are Donald Cohen, of Alameda, and A. I. McCormick, of Los Angeles, California. Both journals are the outgrowth of a demand on the part of the societies they represent for an official organ, and they will undoubtedly exert a stimulating influence on the study of birds in the states in which they are published.
We have also to acknowledge the receipt of the initial number of a third new periodical, 'Nature Study in Schools,' conducted by the well-known naturalist, C. J. Maynard, at West Newton, Mass. It is an illustrated monthly of 26 pages, containing papers interesting alike to teachers and students, and should prove very helpful in its chosen field.
Houghton, Mifflin & Company have in press a bird-book for children by Mrs. Olive Thorne Miller, to be entitled ‘The First Book of Birds.’ As its name indicates, it will aim to introduce its readers to the study of birds by taking them from the nest through all the ordinary phases of a bird′s existence, and including chapters on structure, economics, directions for study, etc. The book will be illustrated, and its author′s experience as a student and teacher of birds is an assurance that it will be a valuable addition to ornithological literature.
Few nature books not designed to assist in identification of species have met with the sale that has been accorded Ernest Seton Thompson’s ‘Wild Animals I Have Known’ (Charles Scribner’s Sons). Published late in October, it went rapidly through several editions, and by January 1, or little more than two months after its appearance, 7,000 copies had been disposed of.
The reason for this phenomenal success is not hard to find; it appears on every page of the book, the text, illustrations, and make-up of which are equally pleasing. Mr. Thompson goes a step further than most students of animals in nature. He does not present us with the biography of the species, but with its personal history, and his minute knowledge of and close sympathy with his subjects leads to his writing a singular charm.
Josephine A. Clark, of 1322 Twelfth street, N. W. , Washington, D. C, publishes a useful ‘Bird Tablet for Field Use.’ It is abridged from the ‘Outline for Field Observations’ in Miss Merriam’s ‘Birds of Village and Field,’ and may be obtained from the publisher for the sum of twenty-five cents.
Mr. C. A. Babcock, well-known as the originator of Bird-Day, has in manuscript a book entitled ‘Bird-Day and How to Prepare for It,’ which will undoubtedly be of much assistance to teachers, and add greatly to the value of Bird-Day observances.
The following books and papers relating to birds have been received and will be reviewed in future numbers: The Cambridge Natural History, Vol. IX, Birds, by A. H. Evans (The Macmillan Co.); The Birds of Ontario in Relation to Agriculture, by Charles W. Nash; The Winter Food of the Chickadee, The Feeding Habits of the Chipping Sparrow, by Clarence M. Weed; A Preliminary List of the Birds of Belknap and Merrimack counties, New Hampshire, with notes, by Ned Dearborn; Check List of British Columbia Birds, by John Fannin.