Birds, Beasts, and Relatives by Gerald Durrell is the second of three quasi-autobiographical books describing the Durrell family's sojourn in Corfu when Gerald was a young child. The main characters in the book are Gerald's widowed mother, Gerald's brothers, Larry (who grew up to become the distinguished novelist Lawrence Durrell) and Leslie, his sister Margo, and many members of the Greek and expatriate communities of the island, as well as the island itself and its flora and fauna.
The book opens with a prologue, set many years after the book itself, in which the family is meeting in England and discussing Gerald's previous book in the series, My Family and Other Animals, and recounts Gerald's reasons for writing another book.
Birds, Beasts, and Relatives is written in the first person, through the eyes of Gerald, a ten-year old child and enthusiastic amateur naturalist who would grow up to become a leading animal collector, conservationist, and zoo director. In elegant and sparkling prose, he described his activities observing and collecting animals around island, interspersed with affectionately humorous portraits of the island's inhabitants. Among the most lovingly drawn portraits are those of the animals, the toad Augustus Tickletummy who like to have his belly rubbed, Gerald's three dogs, Roger, Widdle, and Puke, his pet owl, a family of baby hedgehogs, and a dancing bear.