The birds have it, in this anthology of short pieces by naturalists on what they consider to have been their ""finest moments"". Of the 36 essays written especially for this book, 21 are entirely or partly about birds, and two others are written by ornithologists describing adventures that did not centrally involve their specialty. In the Introduction, John K. Terres speaks of ""that rare naturalist who is also a writer"", a phrase which unfortunately indicates all too correctly that the literary quality of the selections included varies widely. The naturalists who were invited to contribute are in general not known to the reading public (with the exception of John Kieran and Roger Tory Peterson). The reader who is fond of nature writing will miss Sigurd Olsen, Joseph Wood Krutch, Ivan Sanderson, and Edwin Way Teale, to name but a few, and their inclusion would have greatly benefited the book. However, all these essays have the virtues of brevity and enthusiasm for their subject matter, and the range of locale (from polar regions to equatorial rain forest) and the sometimes magnificent descriptive passages in pieces like Victor H. Cahalane's African Discovery or Paul L. Errington's Canadian North will entrance many armchair readers.