Migrating Raptors of the World: Their Ecology and Conservation

Migrating Raptors of the World: Their Ecology and Conservation

by Keith L. Bildstein
     
 

Many raptors, the hawks, eagles, and falcons of the world, migrate over long distances, often in impressively large numbers. Many avoid crossing wide expanses of water and follow "flyways" to optimize soaring potential. Atmospheric conditions and landscape features, including waterways and mountain ranges, funnel these birds into predictable bottlenecks through

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Overview

Many raptors, the hawks, eagles, and falcons of the world, migrate over long distances, often in impressively large numbers. Many avoid crossing wide expanses of water and follow "flyways" to optimize soaring potential. Atmospheric conditions and landscape features, including waterways and mountain ranges, funnel these birds into predictable bottlenecks through which thousands of daytime birds of prey may pass in a short time. Birders and ornithologists also congregate at these locations to observe the river of raptors passing overhead (as did hunters in the United States in the past and in some countries even today).

Keith L. Bildstein has studied migrating raptors on four continents and directs the conservation science program at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Pennsylvania, the world's first refuge for migratory birds of prey. In this book, he details the stories and successes of twelve of the world's most important raptor-viewing spots, among them Cape May Point, New Jersey; Veracruz, Mexico; Kekoldi, Costa Rica; the Strait of Gibralter, Spain; and Elat, Israel. During peak migration, when the weather is right, the skies at these sites, as at Hawk Mountain, can fill with thousands of birds in a single field of view. Bildstein, whose knowledge of the phenomenon of raptor migration is comprehensive, provides an accessible account of the history, ecology, geography, science, and conservation aspects surrounding the migration of approximately two hundred species of raptors between their summer breeding sites and their wintering grounds. He summarizes current knowledge about how the birds' bodies handle the demands of long-distance migration and how they know where to go.

Migrating Raptors of the World also includes the ecological and conservation stories of several intriguing raptor migrants, including the Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Western Honey Buzzard, Northern Harrier, Grey-faced Buzzard, Steppe Buzzard, and Amur Falcon.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"While there have been numerous academic papers on raptor migration, no one until Bildstein has attempted to synthesize the widely scattered data. His excellent and well-researched book offers a systematic overview of key migration routes and the species involved—he cites a list of 200 diurnal raptors—while surveying the hypotheses that attempt to explain the origins of bird-of-prey migration. Bildstein also provides an account of the world's top raptor-watching sites and rounds off with a consideration of conservation priorities."—Mark Cocker, Times Literary Supplement, June 22 2007

"This book provides an excellent summary of what is known about how raptors prepare for and eventually undertake their movements. It summarises a great volume of scientific papers in a readable style. Eight species are selected for more detailed discussion: Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Honey Buzzard, Hen Harrier, Grey-faced Buzzard, Steppe Buzzard and Amur Falcon."—Birding World,

"Migrating Raptors of the World, by Keith L. Bildstein, is a stunning book, exceptional in both its inherently worldwide scope and in the depth with which it treats its subjects. Like Bildstein, I was fascinated at an early age by the hunting flights of birds of prey-then as an adult so entranced by their far-flung migrations that I followed peregrine falcons in a light plane from Texas to Canada and back to the tropics. Yet if this volume had existed to answer, as it does, most of my questions about where my falcons went, and when, and how they did so, I might never have made the journey with them. Thus for both the professional ornithologist and those who simply feel their hearts go out to every autumnal kettle of broadwings channeling south between Vera Cruz and the coastal Sierras, to the sight of a tundra peregrine sweeping over a Caribbean marsh, putting a thousand shorebirds into simultaneous flight, or to the mystery of a golden eagle soaring north—from where to where?—along the Rocky Mountains' Front Range, this book is a key to these fierce and lovely creatures' heretofore almost mystical intercontinental realm. I could not recommend it more highly."—Alan Tennant, author of On The Wing: To the Edge of the Earth With The Peregrine Falcon

"Through his extensive personal knowledge and familiarity with the published literature, Keith L. Bildstein has produced a comprehensive treatment of the spectacular phenomena of raptor migration. Until recently, migration has been one of the least understood aspects of raptor biology; however, this volume provides both professional ornithologists and amateur raptor migration enthusiasts with a very readable synthesis of our current understanding of raptor migration. Bildstein presents interesting case studies of several raptor species that illustrate how the migration strategies of these magnificent birds can develop very differently. He also highlights stories and findings from twelve of the world's most important hawk-watching sites. This book should be of broad interest to bird watchers, ornithologists, and conservation ecologists, but is a must for the libraries of raptor biologists."—Michael W. Collopy, Executive Director, Academy for the Environment

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801441790
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
Publication date:
10/01/2006
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
744,312
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

Meet the Author

Keith L. Bildstein is Sarkis Acopian Director of Conservation Science at the Acopian Center for Conservation Learning, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary.

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