A World on the Wing: The Global Odyssey of Migratory Birds

Category: Book
By (author): Weidensaul, Scott
Subject:  NATURE / Animals / Birds
  NATURE / Animals / Wildlife
  NATURE / Environmental Conservation & Protection
  NON-FICTION / General
Publisher: WW Norton
Published: March 2021
Format: Book-hardcover
Pages: 432
Size: 9.25in x 6.12in
Our Price:
$ 42.00
In stock

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*An exhilarating exploration of the science and wonder of global bird migration.

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.

Bird migration entails almost unfathomable endurance, like a sparrow-sized sandpiper that will fly nonstop from Canada to Venezuela-the equivalent of running 126 consecutive marathons without food, water, or rest-avoiding dehydration by "drinking" moisture from its own muscles and organs, while orienting itself using the earth's magnetic field through a form of quantum entanglement that made Einstein queasy. Crossing the Pacific Ocean in nine days of nonstop flight, as some birds do, leaves little time for sleep, but migrants can put half their brains to sleep for a few seconds at a time, alternating sides-and their reaction time actually improves.

These and other revelations convey both the wonder of bird migration and its global sweep, from the mudflats of the Yellow Sea in China to the remote mountains of northeastern India to the dusty hills of southern Cyprus. 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.

Review Quote*In vivid prose that conjures up the rich spell of each landscape, Scott Weidensaul takes us on exhilarating expeditions that crisscross the globe and travel deep into the heart of nature. For lifelong experts and backyard birders alike, he's a superb guide to the winged marvels that share our planet and our lives.-Diane Ackerman, author of The Zookeeper's Wife

Scott Weidensaul, one of our finest nature writers, has produced another instant classic. In A World on the Wing he takes a pair of highly complex subjects-global patterns of bird migration, and the research into those patterns-and brings them to life with his own amazing adventures around the world. Here is proof that a book of solid science can also be a page-turner. Highly recommended for anyone curious about the natural world. -Kenn Kaufman, author of the Kaufman Field Guides

Weidensaul's dispatches are fascinating. Chapter by chapter, my jaw dropped and my eyes widened. The science of bird migration has reached a golden age, and we're lucky to have such a graceful guide. This book is instantly among my all-time favorites, and one I'll keep to reread.-Noah Strycker, author of Birding Without Borders

The miracle of birds meets the miracle of technology in Scott Weidensaul's wondrous new book, A World on the Wing. While there are huge gaps in our knowledge of migration and there is despair in our race to save species, advances in technology from microscopic transmitters to agile drones are changing the equation and making the future look hopeful. This is a book you won't want to put down. -Jane Alexander, actress, writer and wildlife conservationist

A vaulting triumph of a book. Scott Weidensaul unravels the miracles and mysteries of bird migration like an ace detective. Compelling and often deeply moving, this is a summons for international co-operation and global conservation like no other.-Isabella Tree, author of Wilding: The Return of Nature to a British Farm

Weidensaul is a peerless guide, sharing his intoxicating passion and decadeslong experience with countless bird species all over the world.... Another winner from Weidensaul that belongs in every birder's library.-Kirkus, starred review

Many mysteries of bird life and migration are revealed in this compelling and illuminating in-the-field narrative complete with maps and photographs.-Booklist, starred review

Each chapter on the different bird species and migration experiences will vibrantly inform readers about the habits of migratory birds-or at least what we know about them so far. Besides appealing to birders, this book will also engage those interested in natural or environmental history.-Library Journal, starred review

Remarkable.... Bird enthusiasts and fans of nature writing shouldn't miss this.-Publishers Weekly
Biographical NoteScott Weidensaul is the author of nearly thirty books, including the Pulitzer Prize finalist Living on the Wind. A writer and researcher specializing in birds and bird migration, he is a native of Pennsylvania now living in New Hampshire.