A rare 5 stars for this one, simply delightful, a joy to read. Lorenz is so full of love for his craft, yes I say craft because that is the way he treats his study of animal behaviour. Not an average scientist but rather somehow he has that rare ability to both love his work and be able to write about it to a lay audience with wonderful wit, charm, wisdom and grace. He's a little like Adolf Portmann except with more humour but the same love.
I mentioned that he writes this book for lay readers, not scientists, and unlike the contemporary crowd, who often write in a more condescending way he manages to get across the animals and their complex behaviour without ever at any stage making the reader think himself inadequate to the task. He writes as a human being experiencing the wonders of the natural world and does not artificially reduce it to ashes and leache the life out of it as others do. Here he actually makes people want to become naturalists or biologists. There is no finer writer in the sciences.
In the book, a little tome of 190 pages, he discusses a whole range of animals he studies notably, often from his own home where he keeps an entire managerie of ducks, geese, jackdaws, parrots, dogs, hamsters, water shrews etc etc. The whole house is alive with the raucous cries and crazy comings and goings of his companions. He gives much to the reader such as how to manage an aquarium properly, how to look after animals correctly so their lives are well lived and the book is chocka-block full of animal tales. The kind of tales myths and legends are grown from. I mean that the tales are often so remarkable, e.g. the intelligence shown by his pet raven or the story of two men carrying a canoe followed by several goslings, a large red dog and some ducklings. It is droll and humourfull and full of joy. And, in it, all the way through are his wondrous drawings portraying everything he tells of in the book.
A must have book for everyone, anyone.