by Dan O'Brien
In the mid 80's Dan O'Brien was working to help with Peregrine Falcon recovery throughout the Rocky Mountains. At one of the hack sites, a Golden Eagle had already taken 3 of the 4 new fledged falcons and before it could take the fourth, the group rescued it. At this point, O'Brien was faced with a difficult decision; return the bird and allow it to be used for future breeding or, since he was an experienced falconer, train the bird to hunt and make a journey south, following the natural migration pattern, and release the bird once they arrived in south Texas. Well, since the book would've been quite boring if he chose the first option, you can guess what follows.
With the help of a couple of dogs and some good friends they make it all the way to Texas and......
Well, I am not going to spoil the story but I suggest you find a copy if possible (out of print) and enjoy this great story of a bond between human and animal and the ups and downs of their autumn journey.
by Frank L. Beebe
While scouring the internet for more information on falconry, I noticed Frank Beebe's name quite often. He seems to be regarded as one of falconry's modern masters. So I logged on to the Hennepin County library system and found this book was the only book they had by him.
First, a couple of things:
The book was written in the early 80's and while I am no expert, I assume the rules and regulations regarding falconry have changed somewhat since then.
Also, Mr. Beebe writes often of his unhappiness with regulations and the organizations responsible for making many of those regulations possible. I don't doubt that some mistakes have probably been made my groups like the Peregrine Fund and others but everything I have read up until now, including books by bird/raptor enthusiasts who are falconers, usually praise the overall efforts of these groups. I am assuming that it was much more difficult to acquire a raptor (especially a peregrine) in the early 80's and that lead to much of Mr. Beebe's distrust.
With that in mind, I found the book to be very informative although lacking in enough detail to make it a "bible" of falconry. The illustrations are not detailed enough to walk you through the construction of a hood or jess. This might be intentional on the author's part. Before you can become a falconer you should spend a lot of time as an apprentice to a falconer (I believe it is even required in Minnesota).
The book is a great primer to those interested in a "behind the scenes" look at falconry as opposed to other books, like my previous review, which focus mainly on the hunting itself. I look forward to reading many more books like this one, including others by Mr. Beebe. I just wish my library had them.
by Stephen Bodio
I've become somewhat obsessed with falconry lately. I've always found in fascinating but not something I would ever be able to do. In recent years, especially after volunteering at the UMN Raptor Center, the idea has developed and I started thinking about what it would take and how I could do it. However, over the past 2-3 months, I have started to obsess about it. I spent a handful of days hunting pheasants in October and during some of the walks, I started imagining having a falcon high overhead, waiting for a bird to flush. Now, I find myself searching the web, requesting a wide range of books from the library, and thinking more about it.
Until I am able to go out on a hunt with a falconer, books like A Rage for Falcons should be able to keep my obsession in check. Bodio, himself a falconer, has written a book that is part falconry how-to and part memoir of his favorite falconry moments. The how-to is not really a step-by-step guide to becoming a falconer, but instead takes you through the process and emotions of trapping your falconry bird or finding an eyas in a raptor nest. For anyone interested in falconry, I highly recommend it.
Also, it has a great title.
by Jonathan Rosen
Life of the Skies is not your typical book about birds or birding. Rosen, a novelist and editorial director of Nextbook, a Jewish culture and literature website, has written a book that is more an extended essay on our physical and emotional connection to birds than it is a book on the history of birds or the people who watch them. Interjecting personal stories with avian history, poetry, and ecology, Life of the Skies is a great book for anyone with an interest in birds.