(Thursday, April 22, 1875)
A. R. W.
Dresser's "Birds of Europe", pp. 485-486
Ajril 22, I875] NATURE 485 The heat produced by the passage of the spark through DRESSER'S "BZRJ)S OF EUROPE" the strip of tinfoil is sufficient to expand the air in the A History of the Birds of Europe, inclu1ding- all the bottle again, and the drop of water is pushed outwards by Species inhabilinx the Western Pala-rctic Region. By the expanding air through a space of one or several H. E. Dresser, F.Z.., &c. (Published by the Author, millimetres." by special permission, at the Office of the Zoological Fig. 6 is a simple form of the so-called "injector"orsteam- Society of London.) jet pipe for feeding the boilers of steam-engines. A glass tube, a a, has corks fitted at each end into which pass the T issu e of Parts 35 and 36, completing the third tubes ccd. Steam issues from the small aperture in6, and volume, affords us the occasion of again noticing tubexpanding teamissuesfromthesmallapertureban . the progress of this beautiful and important work. expanding passes out into the air through c. The airenergy with which the author has laboured to within a a becomes rarefied, and the water into which the The energy ithewichte author as pabued to tube d dips is thus driven by atmospheric pressure into, nsure Punctuality i the issue is beyond all praise; and and finally ejected from, vnow that about half the work is completed, and wve find "The construction of the little injector presents no . . .. thapteiso larst tweve parts, with figues ofyearly s20 difficulty, but the dimensions of the various parts must be spcies ofvirseav appeare with in the yearsu exactly those shown inthe figure, if the action is to be scribers have every assurance that they will, in due course, depended upon. Each side of the right angle into possess a finished work. And this punctuality of issue is not effected by any Iwhich the jet tube is to be bent should be about 3 cm. haste or carelessness of workmanship either in the plates long, and the tube as wide as c; the pointed end should or the letterpress. In the last double number we find be like that of b, or very little narrower. An india-rubber some pictures which are triumphs of artistic skill. Such suction-tube, I0 or 55 cm. long, may be attached to d. in particular is the figure of the Nightjar (Caprinulgus The india-rubber tube employed for connecting the europin us), in which the downy softness of the plumage, apparatus with the vessel in which the steam is generated the exquisite mottling of the feathers, the roundness and should fit very tight ; it must not be tied with thread, so repose of the whole bird, the halfrclosed sleepy eye, and that in case the pressure of the steam becomes too great, the well-contrasted background, are exquisitely rendered. the india-rubber may be forced off the glass tube, instead The Wryneck (Yunx tor uilla) is almost equally good of its being torn or the glass broken by the pressure." Wrnc .Yn .oqi/a isams qal od and the tail of this bird in particular is rendered with a Before closing the volume, we notice one or two places, delicacy and skill which cannot be surpassed. Another besides those previously alluded to, in which a little im-charming picture is that of the Sinew (Merggus a/be//us), provement might be made. For example, in describing surrounded by half a dozen young, whose various attitudes the construction of the gold-leaf electroscope, the mode and the grooping of the whole, with the quiet river scene, of cutting gold leaf is omitted. The author recommends are in admirable taste. The two Sand-martins (Coeyne students " to have the strips cut and fixed to the flat end rifiaria) perched on bending reeds form another beautiful of a wire by a skilled mechanician.' This is unsatisfac- bit of nature. An important feature of this work is the tory, for students cannut have recourse to a skilled work- care taken to figure the birds in all their different states man when they like. Nor is there any very great difli of plumage, and i-re e spiall thei df tes culty about cutting and fixing the gold leaves when the more especially that of the young or proper method is patiently tried. Here, as throughout all nestling birds. In this part we have four species in practical work in physics, perseverance is the essence of which the younghare figured-the Black-winged Kite, succss.Agan, e osere tat sefl lttl intruentthe Pied Flycatcher, the Dottrell, and the Sinew-and in success. Again, we observe that useful little instrument every case the plumrage of these infants is remarkably differ the " carrier," or proof-plane, might be more readily made ent from that of their parents. The introduction of these than is stated here. The simplest plan is to procure an young birds adds greatly to the variety and interest of the ebonite penholder, and fasten a disc of gilt paper at the plates as mere pictures; but they also have a high scientific end intended for the pen. These penholders are most value, since they are with good reason believed to indicate useful adjuncts to a physical laboratory. what was probibly the plumage of the ancestral form of Further on, radiant heat receives rather meagre treat- the group to which they belong From this point of ment. There is no description of any form of air-thermo- view, the young are really very old birds indeed, and meter, an instrument which in a modified shape is capable may, when thoroughly studied, enable future ornitholo- of doing most useful work through the whole subject of gists not only to reconstruct the forms, but also to repro- heat. Nor is the subject of magnetism so fully treated as duce the colouring of the birds of past ages. They thus, we should have expected; and in current electricity some to some extent, make up for the deficiency of fossil description should have been given of the measurements remains of birds; and this work, when completed and of resistance and electromotive force: a simple form of the plates arranged in systematic order, will be invaluable Wheatstone's bridge - such, for example, as that sug- to the philosophic naturalist. gested by Prof. Foster-can readily be made, and is in- It is difficult to choose-an extract which shall give any dispensable for the proper study of this subject. adequate idea of the valuable scientific matter to be found But the work is intended rs an introduction to the in the letterpress. The following passage (somewhat study of physics, and, as such, it is altogether the best we condensed), taken from the account of the Night-jar, have yet met with among English hand-books. The touches on a difficult question which the observations of volume unfortunately is of an unwieldy size, and might some of the readers of NATURE may help to clear up have been made far more convenient for the constant "The Nightjar feeds on moths, beetles, and insects of reference it requires if a better arrangement of type hadb various kinds, most frequently capturing its prey on the been adopted. W. F. B. wing, its capacious gape forming an excellent moth or
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