|Look at this lovely lovely man!|
This is a non-fiction book, I can't say I'm a huge reader of non-fiction unless the topic really interests me, but Lorenz's book has always been one of my favorites.
My current copy looks like this:
The new cover is ok, but the original looked like this, which is a magical cover far more in keeping with the contents.
At any rate it was a very lucky save. It turned out to be a gem of stories and information that had been written by someone with as much passion for animals as I had and still have. Written in 1949 and first translated in 1952, it may have dated in some ways but in others it is as fresh as the day it was written.
The little drawings that pepper the book are treasures:
And his delight in the behaviour or everything from common pond life to the complex social lives of jackdaws is truly a joy to read.
Unlike some zoologists, he did not look down on the keeping of pets, and had dogs, hamsters and many other pets of his own, delighting in them just as much as the wild creatures.
Some of what he learned about raising wild geese, that they imprint to the parent figure, was brand new to science at the time and has helped immeasurable numbers of people who are trying to raise rare and endangered birds.
His story of being out in the field, waddling along in a crouched position, quacking away, so that a hatching of tiny wild ducklings who had imprinted on him could see and follow him, and being seen over the stone wall by amazed villagers who couldn't actually see the little ducklings in the grass, is an image that will never leave me. :D
If you love animals, read it. There are copies everywhere even now, and it is still popular for a very good reason. These should be more people like Lorenz. It seems to me that if everyone was like these sorts of curious, intelligent, kind, gently-potty zoologists, the world would be a much, much better place.
And he loved dogs too, as so many of my heroes did and do. He even wrote a whole book about them, but I've never read it. I don't know why. Maybe because I can't believe it would be as charming as King Solomon's Ring!