Page:The Zoologist, 4th series, vol 4 (1900).djvu/365

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NOTICES OF NEW BOOKS.


The Birds of Surrey. By John A. Bucknill, M.A. R H. Porter.

Surrey, to the regret of many of its residents and of all its naturalists, is, to use the words of Mr. Bucknill, rapidly "degenerating into a colossal suburb." To those who were born in the county, and have passed their lives there, the truth of this saying is painfully apparent, and the success of the "City man" now too often means the disfigurement of the Surrey hills. The hand of the builder has fallen very heavily on this lovely county, residential estates are being opened out, and many of the rarer birds vanishing from its boundaries. The feræ naturæ are receiving notices to quit. The preservation of game in this county seems too often designed to afford a London holiday, and the keeper decides what members of our fauna shall be exterminated in the supposed interests of his employers.

We are very thankful for this book, which gives the census of to-day; what it will be reduced to in another fifty years no man knoweth! Even now many of the rarer birds are confined to restricted haunts which may not be mentioned, and the writer of this notice only last May watched the Stone-Curlew within an hour's walk of the busy town of Croydon. The Magpie is sadly becoming less known every year, and villagers in many parts will tell you how they could always procure a nest, if wanted, with little trouble some years back. Now a solitary appearance is, in many parts of Surrey, quite an event. The Jay still survives the persecution of the keeper, and is probably in many woods much more abundant than is generally supposed. The Sparrow-Hawk is considered by Mr. Bucknill as "undoubtedly decreasing," though this year its visits to a poultry-yard at Warlingham on more than one occasion has proved that it does not restrict itself solely to the game-preserves around.

The writer has compiled with care, and, we are gratified to