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THOSE who may look into this book are warned that they will not find a complete treatise on Ornithology, any more than an attempt to include in it all the names under which Birds, even the commonest, are known. Taking as its foundation a series of articles contributed to the ninth edition of the 'Encyclopædia Britannica,' I have tried, first, to modify them into something like continuity, so far as an alphabetical arrangement will admit; and, next, to supplement them by the intercalation of a much greater number, be they short or long, to serve the same end. Of these additions by far the most important are those furnished by my fellow-worker Dr. GADOW, which bring the anatomical portion to a level hitherto unattained, I believe, in any book that has appeared. For other contributions of not less value in their respective lines, I have to thank my old pupil Mr. LYDEKKER, my learned colleague Professor Roy, and my esteemed correspondent Dr. SHUFELDT, formerly of the United States' Army. Dr. Gadow's articles are distinguished by their title being printed in Italic type: those of the other contributors bear their author's name at the end.
For my own part I have to say that, in the difficult task of choosing the subjects for additional articles, one of my main objects has been to supply information which I know, from
enquiries often made of me, to be greatly needed. Readers who in most respects are certainly not ignorant of things in general, frequently find in works of all sorts, but especially in books of travel, mention of Birds by names which no ordinary dictionary will explain ; and, on meeting with a Caracara, a Koel or a Paauw, a Leatherhead, a Mollymawk or a Tom-fool, are at a loss to know what kind of bird is intended by the author. On the other hand I have not thought it necessary to include many names, compounded (mostly of late years) by writers on ornithology, which have never come nor are likely to come into common use—such as CrowShrike, Crow-Titmouse, Shrike-Crow, Shrike-Titmouse, ThrushTitmouse, Titmouse-Thrush, Jay-Thrush and the like. Happily these clumsy inventions are seldom found but in technical works, where their meaning, if they have one that is definite, is at once made evident. Their introduction into the present volume would merely swell its bulk with little if any compensating good. On this account I have also kept out a vast number of local names even of British Birds, which could have been easily inserted, though preserving most of those that have found their way into some sort of literature, ranging from an epic poem to an act of parliament; but I confess to much regret in being compelled to exclude them, because the subject is one of great interest, and has never been properly treated. It will thus be seen that my selection of names to be inserted is quite arbitrary. I have tried to make it tend to utility, and whether I have succeeded, those who consult the volume will judge.
Thanks to the complaisance of Messrs. Longman and Company I have been able to acquire electrotypes of a considerable number of the woodcuts which illustrated Swainson's