One way to encourage the interest of young students in science, biology or the environment is to introduce them to the incredible diversity that exists in nature. In the animal kingdom, one would be hard–pressed to find any class of animals that exceeds birds for their extraordinary range of types and behaviors. This student encyclopedia, aimed at middle school students grade five and up, introduces readers to a selection of the more than 10,000 known species of birds. The 139 articles present the major orders and families, as well as 63 significant species. Hawks, herons and hummingbirds are among the types examined. So too are American crows, blue jays, ducks, geese, ostriches, penguins, pelicans and cormorants. The entries describe not only the physical characteristics of each group, but also their ranges, habitats, social behaviors and migration patterns. Selected general articles explore anatomy, diet, evolution, flight, nesting, songs and threats to birds. More than 700 full–color photographs give a vivid impression of markings and behavior. In addition to the general index, three subject indexes identify species names, behaviors and endangered species. The endsleeves of each volume contains a guide to common names. Supplemental features include a brief glossary and a selective guide to sources for further study. This well-designed guide will serve middle school and public libraries.