Paperback edition of this book, which is a general overview aimed at students and researchers in bird behaviour and ecology as well as the informed general reader. After an introduction to the Earth's climate and ecosystem, the book is split into three sections. The first presents the life histories and migratory habits of nine different ecological categories of birds, whilst the second discusses the course and timing of the journeys, flight behaviour, fuel economy, flocking and the hazards from disorientation and predation. The final section covers the ways that birds navigate.
1. The journeys of birds and the ideas of man
2. The rotating world of migratory birds
3. Summer and winter quarters, Birds in wetlands, Birds which forage on lake and sea bottom, Birds which feed on terrestrial plants, Birds which feed on fish, Birds which obtain food at the water's surface, Birds of prey, Insect-eaters, Seed-eaters, Omnivorous birds, The evolution of bird migration
4. The migratory journey, Methods of studying bird migration, Flight speed, Migration in flocks, Soaring flight, Flight altitude, Fat as flight fuel, Diurnal and nocturnal migration, Weather and wind, Dangers during the migration
5. Orientation and navigation, The sensory world of birds, Different compasses, How do birds find the right migration route?
"[...] presents both the basic principles and the fascinating natural history."
"The book is packed with information, fascinating facts abound [...]"
– British Birds