These collections intiate a new series from Lyons & Burford. The two volumes offer a terrific hodgepodge of articles from the New York Times's weekly science section, which Wade (A World Beyond Healing, 1987, etc.), edited for 6 of the 20 years since it was started. Each book contains 50 features, written by the likes of John Noble Wilford, Natalie Angler, and the Williams Broad and Stevens, but the intriguing, smoothly written contributions of Les Line to the bird book, and Catherine Dold and Carol Yaesuk Yoon to that on fish, pretty much steal the show. The emphasis here is on cutting-edge biological research--fantastic discoveries of the ocean's deep, studies in bird migration, the growing awareness of environmental perils--though there is also a goodly nod to nature-as-freak-show: fruit-eating fish, shape-shifting carp, cuckoos that run egg protection rackets, birds that can see magnetic fields, birds that fashion tools. All in all, a gratifying and artful blend of edification and entertainment.