Birds are one of the numerous topics I know virtually nothing about. I do, however, know how several species taste as I grew up bird hunting in the prickly spaces of South Texas where dove and quail filled the sky and fields. But when I look around here in New Mexico, most of the time, I can’t identify what I’m seeing.
And the lifespan, the migration paths, and the internal design of these incredible creatures still allude me, for now. I don’t know if I will ever be classified as a “birder,” but I am leaning toward learning more by spending more time in the field. I’m also embarking on a reading binge that will hopefully shine a light in the darkness of my knowledge base.
Scott Weidensaul, and his A World on The Wing, is a goldmine of information about all things bird. In fact, he just might be considered a “bird nerd” and I mean that in the nicest way. The author has extensive knowledge and extensive time in the field. Magnetic inclination, migratory paths, and dangers that await migrating birds are just a few of the topics Weidensaul investigates at a granular level.
I grew up as a teenager in rural England, on a farm. I learned from the farmers son, hunting, shooting and fishing. I hunted, relentlessly and without any thought, birds such as Pheasant, woodcock, partridge and wood pigeon. I am now in my 5th decade and regret those days of reckless abandon with a 12 bore. I feel I owe our feathered friends a debt. During the first lockdown of Covid, I sat in my now urban garden and felt a great sense of subordination towards the birds flitting around me. They seemed curious, even concerned to the plight of humanity. It was at this moment of realisation that birds were the superior species. I felt humbled and enamoured to all those birds and butterflies around me. How vulnerable we humans are and I had a sense that we in some special way, the birds and small creatures were sensitive to our plight. I owe birds a great deal and the book you fish here is a way of enlightening myself to their grandeur.
I did the same. Duck, geese, quail, dove, chucker, grouse. The best for me was dove and quail then smoking the birds in a smoker all afternoon. But I don’t have much desire these days. I’d rather just observe.
As a child of the Appalachians, I love Weidensaul’s book Mountains of the Heart. It’s an older one, published in 1994.
He’s a great writer.
Thank you. Will see if the library has it.
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I’m telling you, it’s so much fun but also so fascinating. What have we learned to ignore over the years?