A World on the Wing
Charles Scott Weidensaul
‘A vaulting triumph of a book’ Isabella Tree, author of Wilding
'A master storyteller, Weidensaul communicates so much joy in the sheer act of witnessing and such exhilaration in the advances of the science behind what he sees that we are slow to grasp the extent of the ecological crisis that he outlines.' Observer
Bird migration remains perhaps the most singularly compelling natural phenomenon in the world. Nothing else combines its global sweep with its inherent ability to engender wonder and excitement.
The past two decades have seen an explosion in our understanding of the almost unfathomable feats of endurance and complexity involved in bird migration – yet the science that informs these majestic journeys is still in its infancy.
Pulitzer Prize-shortlisted writer-ornithologist Scott Weidensaul is at the forefront of this research, and A World on the Wing sees him track some of the most remarkable flights undertaken by birds. His own voyage of discovery sees him sail through the storm-wracked waters of the Bering Sea; encounter gunners and trappers in the Mediterranean; and visit a forgotten corner of north-east India, where former headhunters have turned one of the grimmest stories of migratory crisis into an unprecedented conservation success.
As our world comes increasingly under threat from the effects of climate change, these ecological miracles may provide an invaluable guide to a more sustainable future for all species, including us. This is the rousing and reverent story of the billions of birds that, despite the numerous obstacles we have placed in their path, continue to head with hope to the far horizon.
A vaulting triumph of a book. Scott Weidensaul unravels the miracles and mysteries of bird migration like an ace detective. Compelling and often deeply moving, this is a summons for international co-operation and global conservation like no other.
Isabella Tree, author of Wilding
As much as the book is upbeat and celebratory, Weidensaul is fearless in describing the acute challenges that face the birds he loves . . . a superb globetrotting survey of avian restlessness that reaches one core conclusion. Migrants may seem like here-today-gone-tomorrow nomads but they are really inhabitants of a single place and one living system, on which they and humans depend equally: the entire Earth.
Mark Cocker, Spectator
A master storyteller who is also profoundly involved in scientific ornithology . . . Weidensaul communicates so much joy in the sheer act of witnessing and such exhilaration in the advances of the science behind what he sees, that we are slow to grasp the extent of the ecological crisis that he outlines