The Problem of Preservation.—As a rule the first subject to which the young naturalist turns his attention is the most interesting one within his reach, and that subject is undoubtedly found in bird-life; particularly that portion of it which concerns the nests, eggs, young, and various modes of nidification, for this is really the kernel of ornithology. Its details teach him the utility of systematic study and close observation, two important points in all matters of scientific research.
It is my intention in the following pages to furnish as full and interesting particulars on Oology, which may fairly be entitled to the dignity of a science, as can be found, or is likely to be required, in any popular treatise of its modest compass.
This particular branch of natural history has been until lately but indifferently studied—in fact, considered unworthy of higher attention than that which could be bestowed upon it by schoolboys. People have been content to know that the wonderful architecture and mechanism of a bird's nest was the outcome of a force vaguely known as instinct, without taking the trouble to discover its workings, extent, or limits.