Book Reviews, Nature & Wellbeing

Book review: A World on the Wing by Scott Weidensaul

In the past two decades, our understanding of the navigational and physiological feats that enable birds to cross immense oceans, fly above the highest mountains, or remain in unbroken flight for months at a stretch has exploded. What we’ve learned of these key migrations–how billions of birds circumnavigate the globe, flying tens of thousands of miles between hemispheres on an annual basis–is nothing short of extraordinary. 

This breathtaking work of nature writing from Pulitzer Prize finalist Scott Weidensaul also introduces readers to those scientists, researchers, and bird lovers trying to preserve global migratory patterns in the face of climate change and other environmental challenges.

Drawing on his own extensive fieldwork, in A World on the Wing Weidensaul unveils with dazzling prose the miracle of nature taking place over our heads.

My review

At 400 pages, packed full of migratory bird facts, new research and stories about the scientists who study them, this book is an epic read. And it takes us on an epic journey across the world exploring some of the world’s most fascinating and, frankly, epic birds.

One of my favourite things about books is their ability to help us travel to different lands and experience a taste of different lives and perspectives. This book does just that. We relive the author’s own experiences travelling across the world getting involved with frontline research and conservation with his friends and contacts from the ornithology field.

At times it can be a challenging read, some pages are dense with numbers; miles travelled and bird populations counted. And, as ever, with books about nature there are sad stories of extinctions, impacts of climate change, habitat destruction and battles with poaching.

In one chapter, Weidensaul goes behind the scenes in the fight to stop songbird poaching in Cyprus which makes for difficult reading at times. But it is an important message, seeing the amazng and often dangerious work of conservationists on the island and also getting an insight into the communities and cultures where these things happen.

I promise you, the challenge is worth it, this book revealed so many fascinating and mind-boggling nuggets of information. I’d love to share all I learnt from this book but I wouldn’t want to spoil it. There were countless times when I dropped my jaw in amazement whilst reading this book. My ebook copy is covered in highlights!

There are also positive conservation stories where migratory bird species have been brought back from the brink, where education and ecotourism changed everything. This book is both an all-you-need-to-know on migratory birds and a spotlight on those trying to make a difference for some of the world’s most vulnerable and wondrous species.

If you are a bird nerd, then I recommend you read this book!

 A World on the Wing will be published on 18th March 2021. With thanks to Pan Macmillan and NetGalley for an advance copy of the ebook in exchange for an honest review.

*This is an affiliate link which means I will earn a small percentage from the purchase of this book. By buying this book from the Wild & Green bookshop you are helping support the running costs of this blog. Thank you.

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