29 APRIL 1899, Page 9

Bird Studies. By William E. D. Scott. (G. P. Patnam's

Sons. 21s.)—This is a complete and, in some respects, an excellent work on the land-birds of Eastern North America. Mr. Scott knows his subject well, and his accounts of the birds' habits and manners are full of observation. The book has, of course, no pretensions to be scientific, but it is none the less a thousand pities that Mr. Scott has thought fit to depart from all scientific order, and to classify the birds under the fanciful headings of birds found "around the house," "along the high- way," "in the woods," "across the fields," " in marsh and swamp," and "by stream and pond." It is impossible to imagine anything more hopelessly confusing and irritating than to find one species of owl in one part of the book next the woodpeckers, and another owl somewhere else, perhaps among the cuckoos. "it is believed," says our author in the introduction, "that a knowledge of the birds nearest to us is the best point of departure, and is less liable to lead to mental confusion, than if all the members of a given systematic group, as, for instance, all the thrushes or all the sparrows of the entire region, were to be introduced or placed before the student in a body." We have never heard, a more mistaken notion; and without being pedantic we must protest against this absurd classification. There are a great number of photographs in the book of birds, living and dead, skinned and stuffed, and of these we will only say that they are very good photographs.