Vintage, 2015. 326 pages, Octavo, paperback,
Winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction. In her youth, Helen Macdonald was determined to become a falconer, learning the arcane terminology and reading all the classic books. Years later, when her father died and she was struck deeply by grief, she became obsessed with the idea of training her own goshawk. She bought Mabel for 800 pounds on a Scottish quayside and took her home to Cambridge, ready to embark on the long, strange business of trying to train this wildest of animals. An unflinchingly honest account of Macdonald’s struggle with grief during the difficult process of the hawk’s taming and her own untaming. This is a book about memory, nature and nation, and how it might be possible to reconcile death with life and love.
Vintage, 2015. 326 pages, Octavo, paperback,
This book was written by people who have dedicated years to the study of eagles, to provide an insider’s view for all readers, but especially those who have never been up close and personal with these magnificent yet often misunderstood creatures. In their stories, twenty-nine leading eagle researchers share their remarkable field experiences, providing personal narratives that don’t feature in their scientific publications. They tell of their fear at being stalked by grizzly bears, their surprise at being followed by the secret police, their embarrassment when accidentally firing mortar rockets over a school gymnasium, and their sense of awe at tracking eagles via satellite. The reader experiences the cultural shock of being guest of honour at a circumcision ceremony, the absurdity of sharing an aquatic car with the Khmer Rouge, and the sense of foreboding at being press-ganged into a frenzied tribal death march through the jungle. The Eagle Watchers covers twenty-four species on six continents, from well known (bald eagle; golden eagle), to obscure (black-and-chestnut eagle; New Guinea harpy eagle), and from common (African fish eagle) to critically endangered (Philippine eagle; Madagascar fish eagle). The diverse experiences vividly described in this book reveal the passion, dedication, and sense of adventure shared by those who study these majestic birds and strive for their conservation. Featuring stunning colour photographs of the eagles, information on raptor conservation, a global list of all eagle species with ranges and conservation status, and a colour map.
A compulsively readable natural and social history, this book is a profusely illustrated celebration of all things eagle, by a naturalist who has kept eagles himself and ridden with the eagle tribes of Central Asia.
Our relationship with the birds of prey has always been conflicted. Raptors are admired for their strength and independence, but despised for their depredations on livestock and favourite garden birds, while the owls are at once respected for their wisdom and watchfulness and feared for their mournful cries and association with darkness and ill-omen. Australian Predators of the Sky comprises over 200 striking paintings, lithographs and engravings of all 34 Australian species – 25 diurnal birds of prey and nine owls. From odd-looking first depictions to stunning, detailed portrayals of the species, the illustrations cover more than two centuries of bird art, selected from the National Library of Australia’s collection. The artists include George Raper and John Hunter (First Fleet naval officers), Sarah Stone, John and Elizabeth Gould, Ellis Rowan, Neville Henry Cayley, Lilian Medland, Ebenezer Edward Gostelow, and, more recently, Betty Temple Watts, Frank Knight and Jeff Davies.
Part of the revolutionary Crossley ID guide series covering North American birds, this is the first raptor guide with lifelike scenes composed from multiple photographs–scenes that allow you to identify raptors just as the experts do. Experienced birders use the most easily observed and consistent characteristics–size, shape, behaviour, probability, and general colour patterns. The book’s 101 scenes, including thirty-five double-page layouts, provide a complete picture of how these features are all related. Even the effects of lighting and other real-world conditions are illustrated and explained. Detailed and succinct accounts from two of North America’s foremost raptor experts, Jerry Liguori and Brian Sullivan, stress the key identification features. This complete picture allows everyone from beginner to expert to understand and enjoy what he or she sees in the field. The mystique of bird identification is eliminated, allowing even novice birders to identify raptors quickly and simply. Comprehensive and authoritative, the book covers all thirty-four of North America’s diurnal raptor species (all species except owls). Each species is featured in stunning colour plates that show males and females, in a full spectrum of ages and colour variants, depicted near and far, in flight and at rest, and from multiple angles, all caught in their typical habitats. There are also comparative, multispecies scenes and mystery photographs that allow readers to test their identification skills, along with answers and full explanations in the back of the book. In addition, the book features an introduction, and thirty-four colour maps accompany the plates.