Introduction by S. Dillon Ripley, Secretary Emeritus, Smithsonian Institution. With magnificent full-color illustrations throughout. The text illuminates the long and rich relationship between birds and human society; the origins of birds hundreds of millions of years ago; their incredible variety and the role of the changing configuration of the continents on their geographical distribution; the physical requirements of flight; subsistence and migratory patterns; communication and bird society; and the problem of endangered species. Covers all 290 species in the families Fringillidae, Estrildidae, and Passeridae. Color photos and maps.