The author of The Search for the Money takes us into the little known world of the aviculturist- a bird lover dedicated to the care and breeding of (in this case) wild waterbirds. Ripley builds his first pond as a teenager and gradually learns the care, habits, needs of different species of his beloved ducks. He continues his study at Harvard, as a soldier in World War II, and later as a civilian when he travels extensively in Europe and Asia collecting specimens for museums, and live for himself and his friends. He gradually expands his ""pond"" to include swans, even mammals. Though frequently discouraged when valuable birds are lost to floods, diseases or predators, he finds the excitement of tracking a rare species and the vivid beauty of the birds makes any effort worthwhile. The book has many detailed descriptions of waterfowl; it also has some lovely pastoral passages, interesting anecdotes, much information. However, unlike naturalists Peattie or Devoe, Mr. Ripley is so absorbed in one small segment of life that his book is more limited.