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Fisher J., Peterson Roger T. The World of Birds

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Fisher J., Peterson Roger T. The World of Birds
London: Purnell and Sons Limited, 1964. — 259 p.
Each of us has enjoyed a life in which, for close on half a century, his major preoccupation has been with birds. The most beautiful, the most observable animals of the world have occupied our daily lives, have filled our dreams, dominated our reading, directed our conversation.
For the last twelve years we have watched birds together in eleven countries, disputed them in our homes, pursued them, or their Uterature, or their skins, in a dozen libraries or museums and scores of zoos. For the last five we have been planning and researching this book; Roger Tory Peterson (RTF) has painted the pictures (other than maps) mostly in his studio in New England, and the text was put into the first draft by James Fisher (JF) mostly at his desk in England.
Of the modern books on the birds of the world two outstanding examples have been made by men whom we are proud to claim as friends and respected colleagues. They are Living Birds of the World by E. Thomas Gilliard (1958) and Birds of the World by Oliver L. Austin Jr., illustrated by Arthur Singer (1961). Both these fine works have presented the avifauna of our planet, family by family. We have approached the subject in a different way, though we have figured at least one member of nearly every family, past and present.
In 1962, according to our own researches, 8,580 good, full species of birds were known to be aUve on earth. Our aim has been to analyze this galaxy, the end-product of 140 million years of evolution: and to present birds as animals, in an illustrated introduction to their general natural history, from important approaches that have inspired ornithologists through the years. The first part of this book considers some of these approaches, in the hope that ornithology's many-sidedness can be appreciated, and that our beloved science can be understood as a branch of biology in its widest sense that happens to be blessed with gorgeous material.
Just how varied this material is must be known to all without turning the page where RTF has painted (key on p.13) 23 birds from all over the world, from 23 of the 154 families now living.
The second part gets down to the techniques, tools and tasks of international bird watching ; and in it we include a full classification and mapping of the class of birds down to families (and in some cases beyond), with a census of the acceptable genera and species in each — those fossil, those recently extinct and those living. The book closes with an essay on birds in their relation to men.
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