Taylor loves birds and collects eggs. He has the rare opportunity to enhance his collection when a pair of red kites nest nearby. The only problem is, the red kites are extremely rare – only twenty-five are left in the country. Taylor’s father, a gamekeeper, is under orders from his boss, the landowner Reg Harris, to kill the kites, who are birds of prey and will go after Harris’s grouse population. For Taylor, the temptation also to take the eggs from the kites’ nest becomes insurmountable when Harris actually asks him to do the job, even though it is illegal. Pangs of terrible guilt follow, and although Taylor tells Harris he’s gotten rid of the incriminating evidence, he secretly salvages and hatches one egg. But as soon as the bird is born, elaborate plans must be made to keep its existence a secret in order to save it from being shot during the approaching hunting season.