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Page:The Zoologist, 4th series, vol 5 (1901).djvu/422

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Bird Watching. By Edmund Selous.J.M. Dent & Co.

Readers of 'The Zoologist' require no introduction to Mr. Selous. He practically inaugurated a new method of field observation by his "Observational Diary of the Habits of Nightjars," &c., in our volume for 1899. This paper is not included in the volume under notice, but it contains a wealth of information relating to other birds which is in the truest sense original. The time is now fast approaching when ornithological field work—in this country—will no longer be conducted only with the gun. We have abundantly seen what the camera will do; Mr. Selous has now told us how to work with the field-glass. We shall give no extracts from this book, which demands the perusal of ornithologists; but we shall consider its main thesis, for, apart from observations, it is a book with a motive. That motive is the sanctity of bird-life—applicable, of course, to other living creatures.

To Mr. Selous our "zoologists" have been "thanatologists." "Had we as often stalked animals in order to observe them, as we have in order to kill them, how much richer might be our knowledge!" We believe this to be unanswerable, and the writer of this notice must admit that many of the very happiest days of his life passed in procuring specimens are now regarded with very grave suspicion. But we must not exaggerate this emotion. If it is unnecessary to kill for study—and we do not say that in very many cases it is not—it is equally true that it must be wrong to kill for sport,[1] and by sport the fish must be equally regarded as the bird. The table, as well as the museum, is the culprit. We really enjoyed that piece of Salmon, though it was not necessary to our existence; the unfortunate Lobster

  1. The newspapers have recently recorded that the Mackintosh of Mackintosh has broken the record for a day's Grouse-driving in Scotland, he and his friends having killed more than nine hundred brace in Inverness-shire.