Turns out bird migration is a complicated thing. This fact is covered in Rebecca Heisman’s “Flight Paths,” a book I enjoyed immensely. Why does the blackpoll warbler’s summer grounds now extend three hundred and seventy miles further north than it did in 1975 and how the Hell do we know this? Well, I want to know, and if you do to then this book is for you.
Heisman, on the other hand, writes well making the content entirely digestible. The book is comprised of short chapters each detailing a key player in the riddle that is bird migration. It’s not like we still don’t have a lot to learn but what has been established is remarkable to say the least as are the people who have dedicated their lives to birds and bird conversation.
My neighbor just casually explained that he befriended and trained seagulls for a film he was shooting. I waited for the punchline but it turns out it’s true. He visits them daily still, and they ride on the back of his paddle boat often leaving their chicks with him while they go out fishing. So yes, the bird world is endless my friends.
Me, I’m now officially a warbler fanboy, a bird covered extensively in Flight Paths. Just learning what we already know would take a lifetime, but I for one find this incredibly inspiring. I don’t travel anywhere now without my binoculars and bird notebook. And people, I’m just getting started. If the bird world is interesting to you then buy all means read this book. Heisman’s work provided me with a subsequent list of other books, other birders and other organizations that will keep me busy for quite some time. And ya, I’d love to hang out with her.