From Publishers Weekly
At the outset, Gessner tells readers that "[t]his is not a bird book"; indeed, it's more about what Gessner came to understand about himself by spending day after day studying one particular species of bird, the osprey. Gessner, who previously wrote Return of the Osprey
, which focuses on the effort to rescue ospreys from DDT annihilation, this time turns his attention to migration—why ospreys migrate to Central and South America every winter, and what they do when they're there. He tracked ospreys on one basic migration route—from Cape Cod to Cuba and back. While Gessner weaves in the science of tracking the birds, it's his rowboat-and-binoculars approach to the subject that will most attract readers. Spending days watching ospreys and chatting with other bird-watchers, Gessner discovers the "joy in reducing life to one thing." Gessner writes beautifully, with grace and humor. (Apr.)
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Gessner insists that this is not a bird book but, instead, a book about the nature of human happiness. Many of the people in it "have turned their attention to things with feathers that fly." Gessner had become obsessed with ospreys while on Cape Cod and decided to follow a flock when the flock left at the end of the summer on its annual migration. The birds fly over the eastern U.S., then over Cuba, and spend the winter in South America. Gessner joined a BBC crew making a documentary, traveling illegally into the mountains of Cuba and then into Venezuela. They traveled by car, plane, boat, and on foot to follow these raptors, whose wingspread measures six feet. Gessner describes the birds' antics and writes about the people he meets along the way. Despite what Gessner says, however, the book really is about birds; he also happens to be the author of Return of the Osprey
(2001) and The Prophet of Dry Hill
(2005). This is a thoughtful and loving examination of these beautiful creatures. George CohenCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved