New Login   

Of Creatures That Fly and Sprint

M.K. Ranjitsinh

By Mehran Zaidi
Tara Press, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, 2010, Rs. 350.00

Edited by S. Theodore Baskaran
Penguin Books, New Delhi, India, 2010, pp. 240, Rs. 299.00

VOLUME XXXIV NUMBER 11 November 2010

From the time the ornithologist British High Commissioner to India, Malcolm Macdonald published his Birds in My Garden over half a century ago, Delhi has been gifted a series of bird books of Delhi.Nonetheless, as the interest in nature and the science of bird study expand, more literature on the subject is necessary and welcome.With the wetlands of Okhla, despite all the pollution and disturbance, and the megalopolis of Delhi despite the loss of tree cover, yielding almost every year previously unrecorded rare and vagrant bird species, no new bird book is a repetition of the earlier work. In this publication, the young author has given us an additional bonus by describing even the butterflies of Delhi, of which there has been a dearth.Despite butterflies being the most spectacular of the invertebrates, there have been very few books on this topic since the pioneering Butterflies of India by M.A. Wynter-Blyth.Therefore, in a way, this section on Butterflies, albeit restricted, is even more welcome than that on the birds, but the combination of the two gives the bookgreat practical value. The illustrations vary in quality; a few excellent, many charming and evocative and some below standard. What is unclear is the purpose behind showing the small illustrations above and below the main illustrations of the birds and the butterflies.It would be useful to have such illustrations to distinguish between the life form being shown and closely resem-bling species or sub-species.But to exhibit a Hoopoe, a parakeet and a swift on the same page, for instance, does not add value, especially since the larger illustrations of the miniatures are being shown elsewhere and are merely repetitive.Nonetheless, both the young author and publisher need to be compli-mented for bringing out this very useful book.This is an anthology of some very varied and absorbing articles which have appeared in the past years in the journal Blackbuck, a periodical published by the Madras Naturalists’ Society (MNS).It is a welcome addition to the literature on wildlife because, firstly, the writings pertain to South India about which relatively little is in print these days and secondly, the essays, as the editor points out, cover the field of nature writing rather than writing on wildlife, there being a distinction between the two and again, there being a shortage of recent printed matter even here.The main criterion for ...

Table of Contents >>
Please or to Read Entire Article

Free Access Online 12 Back Issues
with 1 year's subscription
Archive (1976-2011)
under construction.