Almost all existing books on Indian birds are either bulky ornithological
treatises or small handbooks and field guides with descriptions and notes
which rely heavily on line drawings or colour sketches for illustration.
Many of these are reprints of the works of old naturalists, originally
written at least a half century ago. There are only a couple of recent
books that have been illustrated with photographs, but these are dedicated
to particular habitats or areas.
Over the past decade or so, nature photography has taken great strides
and several Indian photo-naturalists have produced work of high quality.
There is now much greater scope for illustrating natural history publicationsómore
accurately and with more life than ever before, using photographs.
The book we are presenting is just one such step in this direction. It
is primarily a portfolio of bird pictures, selected from the work of a
dedicated photo-naturalist, Lt. Gen. R. K. Gaur, PVSM (Retd). Gen Gaurís
main passion is to observe and document birds as birds, living creatures
rather than sets of biological and statistical data. The author has largely
avoided repeating basic data and figures about anatomy, measurements,
and other biological details that can be obtained from any handbook or
compendium. His light and eminently readable narrative takes the reader
into the fascinating realm of bird life. Yet, his writing clearly reflects
a naturalistís concern, based on years of painstaking observation.