This page needs to be proofread.

Sept, 1910 PUBLICATIONS REVIEWED 177 fornia, Oregon and Washington, as might have been expected proved to be based on our Band- tailed Pigeon. As far as is known the Passen- ger Pigeon never occurred west of the Rocky Mountains. It appears now to be wholly ex- tinct everywhere. PUBLICATIONS REVIEWED (continued from page 175) We object to such a statement as this, undei ?riofinus cinereus: "accidental once off coast of California." "But one record", would have been better, as the latter phrase implies limitations rather upon our own knowledge. "Accidental" is an unwarranted assumption of what in many cases proves to be untrue, as when a species, previously unknown, upon closer observation, or exploration of new localities, is found to be of regtdar occurrence within the region under consideration. Then, too, an unusual visitant nmy nmke its appearance urnlet circumstances quite apart from any accident. The term is not a well-chosen one. In the matter of classification, as we have alredy remarkt, there is no change. It is extre?nely regrettable that a new classification, based on Gadow, which, we are informed in the Preface, Ridgway and Stejneger had under- taken to prepare for this Edition, was not finally adopted and installed thruout. Insted, the classification and sequence is that of the original A. O. U. Check-List, issued 25 years ago ! Ornithology is wonderfully fortunate in that it offers a field of plesurable interest to the alnateur scientist, whose numbers increase year by year. We rejoice in this. At the same time there is clearly thretened the danger that the serious science itself will suffer. This appears all the more imminent when its few trained and professional constituents begin to defer to popular (anmteur) preferences. The A. O. U. Committee "on Nomenclature and Classification" is lookt to from other fields of science as a representative body, to be expected in its publications to present the very latest results of ornithological research. The com- mittee admits that the modern system of classification, adopted in most of the standard ornithological works of today, is desirable; yet it adheres to the system of 25 years ago be- cause of feared inconvenience. While any sys- tem, of any period, may be expected and hoped to change, as knowledge increases, it is certain- ly due to amateurs and professional students in all fields alike that authoritative treatises, such as is the A. O. U. Check-List, provide in all respects an up-to-date exposition of its subject. In the statuses of species and subspecies there appears to be a sad lack of consistency as to rank of the lesser differentiated forms. An extreme example is "Thryomanes leucophrys," of San Clemente Island. Why not Thryomanes bewicki leucophrys, and thus unify the treat- merit of all of the various isolated forms inhab- iting the Santa Barbara islamis? Evidently there is no regularly-adhered-to criterion for subspecific status. Note the following: ?asser- culus beldingi and ]>asserculus sandwichcrisis bryanti; Junco aikeni, Junco byemalls byemalls, Junco byemalls oreganus, and Junco bairdi; Corvus caurinus and Corvus brachyrhynchos hesperis; Creciscus jamaicensis and Creciscus coturniculus; Nailus levipes and Nailus obsolet- us; Arquatella marllima maritima, Arqua- leila maritima couesi and ?4rquatella marl lima ptilocnemis; eucosticle griseonucha, Leucosticte tephrocotis tephrocotis amt eucos- ticte tephrocotis littoralis. After all, is consist- ency in this regard attainable until we return to the oht-fashioned but non-ambiguous pure binomial system of nomenclature? There are cases where to revive a former usage is in reality a step forward. Referring now to the employment of vernac- ular names, we are disappointed to observe that the useless possessive is retained in per- sonal names. For instance, we are again forced to read "Cooper's Tanager", insted of the more euphonious aml truthful Cooper Tanager; "Samuels's Song Sparrow" for Samuels Song Sparrow. It would seem .that here, in the matter of vernacular names, the convenience and preferences of the majority of popular bird- students might have been consulted to better purpose than in the system of classification adopted. Then, too, we might have well been per- reitted to call our California Condor by that name insted of California "l?ultuve"; Inter- mediate Sparrow insted of "Gambel's" Spar- row; Sierra Junco insted of "Thurber's" Junco; Western Kingbird insted of "Arkansas" King- bird; Tawny Creeper insted of "California" Creeper; Spurred Towbee insted of "San Diego" Towbee, and Mountain Towbee insted of "Spurred" Towbee. A still more flagrant case is the retention of "House Finch" as against California Linnet, even tho the latter had been announced (Auk, 1909, p. 303)as chosen. A distinctly unhappy error seems to have been committed in not providing subspecies with separate qxmlifying terms. For instance, there is Song Sparrow (for ?lelospiza meloclia melodia), Desert Song Sparrow (for _iF/. m. fallam), Mountain Song Sparrow, etc.; Blue- bird, Azure Bluebird, Western Bluebird, etc.; Crow, Florida Crow, Western Crow, etc.; Gold-