Since time immemorial, birds of prey have both excited and inspired mankind. Perhaps more than any other group of birds, they have influenced our literature, art and mythology, being the force behind the ancient and continuing sport of falconry. But in the eyes of some they have been seen as competitors, especially during the 19th century, when gamekeepers and shepherds shot anything with a hooked beak, and soon after came the collectors, who sought the skins and eggs of these predators - at any price. In the 20th century the welfare of these birds has been viewed more sympathetically, and the steady growth of interest in conservation has come to their aid. In their position at the top of the food chain, they are excellent indicators of the state of health of the countryside, an instance of which was their widespread and unexpected deaths in the 1960s, which drew attention to the dangers of using persistent pesticides on the land. This book explores the history and current status of Britain's 23 birds of prey, including owls as well as the diurnal species. It contains details of their diet, behaviour, field characteristics, habitats, breeding, migration and movements. The paintings cover all the species and their eggs.